The impact of shouting your abortion on community-level abortion stigma in nursing students: A pilot study
Awarded 2019
Complex Family Planning Fellowship Research
Wendy Leung, MD
Yale University

Community-level abortion stigma manifests when a group of people ascribe negative attributes to people who seek, obtain or are associated with abortion care. Although not well studied, community-level abortion stigma plays a critical role in the social, medical, and legal marginalization of abortion care and is reflected in the amount of support that members of a community give to policies that govern abortion access. Evaluating community-level abortion stigma among health care providers, such as nurses, is crucial to understanding how abortion stigma may affect health care provision; however, there is little data on community-level abortion stigma among nurses and nursing students, and even less data on interventions aimed at reducing stigma in this population. Currently, abortion rights organizations are encouraging women who have had abortions to share their stories in hopes of decreasing community-level abortion stigma, but these efforts have not been supported by empirical data. We propose a mixed methods pilot study among a sample of 50 nursing students to assess preliminary efficacy of a video of first-person abortion stories on community-level abortion stigma scores before and after exposure to the video. Our primary outcome will measure community-level abortion stigma using a previously validated scale; our secondary outcomes will measure situation-specific attitudes towards people who have abortions, expectations of secrecy and privacy surrounding abortion experiences, and support for pro-choice policy. Outcomes will be measured at three different timepoints: pre-intervention, post-intervention, and at 3-month follow up. In order to gain a richer understanding of our quantitative results and identify implications for abortion stigma-reduction efforts, we will also conduct focus groups to explore nursing students’ thoughts about and reactions to the first-person abortion stories. To achieve thematic saturation, we will conduct three focus groups, each comprising six to eight nursing students, immediately following exposure to the video.