Publications

Bringing a background in public health research to the reproductive rights, health, and justice field, we’re helping activists strengthen, measure, and sustain their stories and strategies for change.

New Research on Abortion Stigma in Mainstream News

Every day we turn to the news to understand what is happening in our world. We assume that what we read will be accurate, factual, and unbiased. Yet we know that this is often not the case, especially when it comes to stigmatized issues like abortion.In our new report, “Shaping stigma: An analysis of mainstream print and online news coverage of abortion, 2014-2015,”co-authored with the Berkeley Media Studies Group, we discovered that news coverage perpetuated stigma in many ways, including through the frequent use of inflammatory language in quotes from anti-abortion advocates, the lack of firsthand stories from people who have had abortions, and the near absence of scientifically accurate information about the safety, prevalence, and support for abortion. Read the full report here, including our recommendations for journalists and advocates.

women's health journalNew Research on Women’s Private Conversations about Abortion

Although scholars have studied public discussion and opinions about abortion extensively, little literature is available on private conversations about abortion. In this original study, we explore private discourse about abortion by observing and analyzing conversations among women in book clubs. We found book club discussions demonstrated that private discussions about abortion can be complex and include multiple disclosures of personal abortion experiences, including having an abortion, considering an abortion during pregnancy, and helping a friend obtain an abortion. The results of this study begin to fill a critical gap in our knowledge of private discourse concerning abortion and its potential distinction from public conversations. Read the full study now.

More Connected to Each Other: Results and insights from launching the Untold Stories Project

Untold Stories Project Year 1 Evaluation ReportFrom fall 2014 –  spring 2015, we provided copies of our book Untold Stories: Life, Love, & Reproduction to 65 reading groups in 25 states. We wrapped up our evaluation in September 2015, and the results are incredible!

Ninety-nine people (about half of all of our evaluation respondents) shared new stories about reproduction, and nearly all of them felt supported when they did so. For almost all of these storytellers, they were sharing this reproductive experience for the very first time. Most readers said that participating in the project was “eye-opening,” gave them “more empathy,” and made them “more open to the nuance of reproductive decisions.” Read the full report to see just how rich their experiences were.

What happened when I talked about my abortionsVideo: What Happened When I Talked about My Abortions

In this video, our Untold Stories storyteller Karen Thurston talks about what it was like to share her abortion experiences, first with a friend from Church, and then with her family, and eventually on social media. Karen talks about what it’s like growing up in a culture drenched in abortion stigma, and how that impacted her decision to share her abortion stories.

Saying Abortion Aloud Summary CoverSaying Abortion Aloud: Research and Recommendations for Public Abortion Storytellers and Organizations

Storytelling has a long history of being an effective strategy for change. We know it can transform hearts and minds, and shed light on how policy and culture impacts our personal experiences. Yet stigma and shame often prevent people from sharing their stories publicly. We surveyed 39 public abortion storytellers and conducted 13 in-depth interviews to ask them these questions and more.

Abortion Stigma in Brief: How Can We Measure Abortion Stigma?

Abortion stigma is a major barrier to adequate reproductive health care for women and a primary challenge for service delivery providers to address. Developing adequate measures of how abortion stigma manifests is a priority step for advocates who seek design and evaluate strategies for combatting abortion. Measures of abortion stigma are relatively new in the field of stigma measurement, but they can help provide a baseline understanding of the prevalence of stigma and how it varies by geographic and cultural context. In this brief we summarize our review of evidence-based tools designed to measure stigma across a range health topics.

From Severe Stigma to Powerful Resilience: Youth Sexuality, Parenting, and the Power of Structural Support

In this original report, we share the results of our interviews with 14 experts in the field of resilience and support for young families. We cover everything from their personal and observed experiences of young families and the challenges they face, their understanding of stigma and the ways it is experienced, their programmatic undertakings to confront stigma and shift culture, their evaluation methods, and next steps. Read the full report, take a look at our conceptual model, and see how young parents and their allies describe the problem and their solutions.

White Paper CoverAddressing Abortion Stigma Through Service Delivery: A White Paper

Together with ANSIRH and Ibis Reproductive Health, we co-authored this white paper that articulates a definition of abortion stigma, provides a literature review on abortion stigma, stigma measurement, and stigma interventions, and a draws key insights from interviews s with 12 abortion service delivery providers around the globe. Read the full white paper here.

What is abortion stigma videoVideo: What is Abortion Stigma?

What is abortion stigma? How does it impact people seeking abortion services? How does it impact people who provide abortion care? We created this video to help explain the stigma system, and to show that we all have a role in reducing abortion stigma.

women & health journalWomen & Health Special Issue on Abortion Stigma

In an effort to broaden the discussion around abortion stigma and spark further research and critical thinking, Women and Health has published a special issue on abortion stigma in October 2014 compiling articles examining the topic. The special issue was conceptualized and co-edited by Kate Cockrill, Executive Director of the Sea Change program, Leila Hessini and Kristen Shellenberg from Ipas, and Katrina Kimport, Assistant Professor at the Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health program at the University of California, San Francisco.

Read Kate Cockrill’s article, Imagining a World Without Abortion Stigma, and check out the other fascinating research and commentary.

Abortion Stigma in Brief: What is Abortion Stigma?

Abortion stigma is a challenge for sexual and reproductive health care providers around the world. Stigma can lead to a policy environment where it is difficult, dangerous or even impossible to provide abortion care. Stigma also shames and silences women who seek abortion, marginalizes abortion providers, and contributes to myths and misperceptions about abortion in communities and the media. To combat this stigma, we must first define and understand it. In this brief we provide a definition of abortion stigma and describe how this stigma manifests across various levels of culture.

Addressing Abortion Stigma Through Delivery: Stigma Interventions

Just as there are different manifestations of abortion stigma occurring at distinct cultural levels, there are different types of interventions designed to address them. In this summary we explore intrapersonal, interpersonal and structural interventions. The following summary provides a definition of abortion stigma in brief; for a more thorough exploration, see the full white paper, Addressing Abortion Stigma Through Service Delivery.

Latest News

Get Involved with the Sea Change Program

support-our-efforts

Support Our Efforts

Stigma impacts us all. It creates a culture of shame in which people cannot be their whole selves. Help us grow our work and support culture change around the world.

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Stay in the Know

What are the latest developments in culture change work around the world? What’s the latest research on abortion stigma? Keep up through our newsletter!

build-community

Build Community

Join our living room and kitchen table reading project to support new ways to think, listen, and share around reproduction.

Latest News

Get Involved with the Sea Change Program

support-our-efforts

Support Our Efforts

Stigma impacts us all. It creates a culture of shame in which people cannot be their whole selves. Help us grow our work and support culture change around the world.

stay-in-the-know

Stay in the Know

What are the latest developments in culture change work around the world? What’s the latest research on abortion stigma? Keep up through our newsletter!

build-community

Build Community

Join our living room and kitchen table reading project to support new ways to think, listen, and share around reproduction.