Abortion and student health services expanding the conversation with student perspectives

Maria Catrina Jaime, Abeer Yakzan, Carrie Lewis, Eleanor Schwarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: College students are known to experience unintended pregnancy and seek abortions. However, few student health centers currently offer abortion services. In this exploratory study, we aimed to expand understanding of student perspectives regarding on-campus abortion services. Study design: We invited UC Davis students to complete an anonymous web-based survey using 16 campus listservs and in-person recruitment. We elicited student knowledge of and opinions about on-campus Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) with 29 questions. Results: The 502 participating students primarily identified as female (80%) and heterosexual (86%); most (90%) were undergraduates. In the past year, 9% of female respondents had used emergency contraception (EC), and 9% had sought clinic-based pregnancy testing. Only 68% of respondents were aware that SHCS provides EC. Although SHCS has not yet offered abortions, 24% of respondents believed that SHCS currently offers medication abortion and 13% believed that SHCS clinicians perform abortion procedures. Most respondents (64%) believed that SHCS should offer abortion services; 12% of respondents felt SHCS should not. Reasons for support of on-campus abortion services included the need to compassionately care for campus survivors of sexual assault and abortion's role in allowing students facing undesired pregnancy to complete their education. Reasons for opposition included concerns regarding SHCS's ability to offer high-quality abortion services, the potential for controversy related to on-campus abortion services and personal opposition to abortion. Conclusion: Most responding students favor on-campus abortion services, and a number of students incorrectly believe that abortion services are currently offered on the UC Davis campus. Implications: Student health centers should offer medication abortion on campus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalContraception
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • Abortion
  • California
  • Emergency contraception
  • Student health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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