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Researchers look at abortion 'stigma'

June 29, 2011 at 11:59 PM   |   Comments

CINCINNATI, June 29 (UPI) -- U.S. and British researchers say they are examining the social issues surrounding abortion and the stigma sometimes associated with terminating a pregnancy.

Danielle Bessett, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Cincinnati, and colleagues at The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, the University of Cincinnati, the University of California, San Francisco, the Guttmacher Institute in New York, Goldsmiths College, University of London and Center for the Study of Women, University of California, Los Angeles, say there is little research on abortion stigma.

"What does exist focused on women who have had abortions and on their experiences," Bessett says in a statement. "We're looking at stigma in a broader context."

Each researcher is exploring a specific group that could be affected by stigma, such as healthcare providers who perform abortions, supporters of women who have had abortions, the male partner of a woman who had an abortion, women's experience in pregnancy after previously having had an abortion and women's self stigma after suffering miscarriage, Bessett say.

"This is new territory into research around the social issues surrounding abortion," says Bessett, who adds the research will be conducted in both national and international settings, including the United States, Zambia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Mexico, Brazil and countries in Europe.

"Understanding abortion stigma will inform strategies to reduce it, which has direct implications for improving access to care and better health for those whom stigma affects," the study authors say.

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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