Sources and tips for reporting on health equity in reproductive health
By Margarita Martín-Hidalgo Birnbaum
The statistics on several key reproductive health measures offer clues about the demographic characteristics of women who may be most affected by the Supreme Court decision that struck down Roe v. Wade, allowing states to ban abortions. With that in mind, we’re sharing tip sheets that offer potential story ideas and resources for reporting about health implications of U.S. vs. Dobbs.
This tip sheet focuses on health equity in three key reproductive health measures: unintended pregnancies, birth control use and abortion. Another recent tip sheet by Kerry Dooley Young, AHCJ’s core topic leader on patient safety, explored the use trends of mifepristone also known as RU-486, a medication used to terminate a pregnancy in its early stages.
Trend data and studies
Research going back at least three decades has looked at the relationship between social and political determinants of health and women’s health measures such as birth control use and pregnancy and abortion rates. The reports and studies listed below include research on unintended pregnancy trends by race and ethnicity and patterns in OBGYN visits in in rural and urban areas. The resources highlight key data trends and studies going back to 2010 because, as addressed in this analysis published in The New York Times, state legislatures passed an unprecedented number of anti-abortion laws in the three years that followed the 2010 midterm elections.
- Racial/ethnic disparities in contraceptive use: variation by age and women's reproductive experiences
- Declines in Unintended Pregnancy in the United States, 2008–2011
- Abortion Incidence and Service Availability in the United States, 2017
- Determinants of rural-urban differences in health care provider visits among women of reproductive age in the United States
- Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Reproductive Health Services and Outcomes, 2020
- Need for Contraceptive Services Among Women of Reproductive Age — 45 Jurisdictions, United States, 2017–2019
- State Abortion Policies and Maternal Death in the United States, 2015‒2018
- Abortion Surveillance — United States, 2019
- U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions, 2010: National and State Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity
Clinics and reproductive rights advocacy groups
The Supreme Court decision will most affect women who live in the more than a dozen states that already had or were ready to pass restrictive abortion laws, including Missouri, Ohio and Texas For information on the existing laws, we recommend you take a look at the interactive maps and analysis provided by the Guttmacher Institute and NARAL Pro-Choice America. This reporting tip sheet from International Center for Journalists includes suggestions on gender-inclusive language, points out blind spots to watch for, and recommends looking at the way state laws affect minorities. Below we offer a list of clinics and reproductive rights groups from around the country that you can reach out to for state-by-state context on the implications of the ruling.
- Alabama Women’s Wellness Center P.C.
- Pro-Choice Arizona
- Arkansas Coalition for Reproductive Justice
- Hope Medical Group for Women
- Lift Louisiana
- Mississippi Reproductive Freedom Fund
- National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice
- Whole Woman’s Health
- Guttmacher Institute
Stories on health equity and abortion ruling
News outlets have been addressing equity in reproductive health trends in the U.S. leading up to and in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling. This recent National Public Radio piece, for example, touched on the implications abortion bans may have on Black women. In this Vox article, former Texas Democratic state Sen. Wendy Davis, a widely-known reproductive rights advocate in the Lone Star State, said clinics in jurisdictions with less restrictive laws on abortion face an “impossible burden” because they may have a much greater demand for the procedure than they can handle. And in this story from the Associated Press, Laurie Bertram Roberts, the executive director of the Yellowhammer Fund, an Alabama-based organization that provides funding for women who want to have an abortion, said that many women of color in states with tough anti-abortion laws don’t have many birth control and health care options.