Exploration of Multiple Perceived Obstacles to Abortion Access for Women in North Carolina

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Existing research shows that legislation such as mandatory waiting periods, restriction of federal funding to pay for abortion services, and regulations causing clinic closures can make it more difficult for women to get an abortion. In 2019, North Carolina was one of the 29 states in the US considered to be extremely hostile to abortion rights based on legislative abortion restrictions, and in 2014, 90% of women in North Carolina had no clinics that provided abortions in their counties. Thus, women in North Carolina are likely to experience many challenges in attaining abortions. This qualitative study of multiple obstacles to abortion among a sample of women in North Carolina adds to existing literature on the impact of obstacles to accessing abortion by assessing the cumulative effect of multiple obstacles on women’s perceptions of obtaining an abortion. I collected survey data and conducted qualitative interviews with women in North Carolina who had recently received an abortion and analyzed this data to find four key themes in women’s experiences: cost obstacles, logistical obstacles, access to information, and personal/emotional obstacles. These themes reveal that multiple obstacles experienced at once interact to influence women’s perceptions of their experiences in getting abortions, and that these experiences vary based on external factors, such as income, profession, upbringing, and support networks. This research demonstrates the importance of highlighting women’s narratives when advocating changes in abortion policy.





Jaffe, Stephanie (2019). Exploration of Multiple Perceived Obstacles to Abortion Access for Women in North Carolina. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/20255.

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.