Formation of abortion attitudes
Awarded 2012
Trainee Grants
Anna Altshuler, MD, MPH
University of Washington

Abortion serves an important role in society as access to safe abortion decreases maternal morbidity and mortality. It is also common; one in four American women will have an abortion by age 30 in the US. However, abortion is heavily stigmatized in US society and perceived as rare. Stigmatization jeopardizes access. Minimal information exists on how we form our views on abortion. This is a University of Washington Institutional Review Board approved study investigating abortion attitudes of approximately 1,000 American young adults between the ages of 13-29 recruited via social networks and conducted through an internet survey. This project is promoted as research studying the process of becoming sexual and its implications rather than explicitly stating its goal of studying formation of abortion attitudes, given the stigmatized nature of abortion. The study aims to answer where people learn about abortion, what their abortion attitudes are, and what influences their abortion attitudes. Secondly, it explores whether mechanisms for learning about abortion are similar to the mechanisms for learning about sex and pregnancy. Findings from this study will be presented at University of Washington and submitted for publication with the intention of guiding future research that may delve deeper into studying the formation of abortion attitudes and offer insight for addressing abortion stigma.