Skip to main content
construction release_alert
Scholars@Duke will be undergoing maintenance April 11-15. Some features may be unavailable during this time.
cancel
Journal cover image

Women's knowledge of their state's abortion regulations. A national survey.

Publication ,  Journal Article
Swartz, JJ; Rowe, C; Morse, JE; Bryant, AG; Stuart, GS
Published in: Contraception
November 2020

OBJECTIVES: States vary significantly in their regulation of abortion. Misinformation about abortion is pervasive and propagated by state-mandated scripts that contain abortion myths. We sought to investigate women's knowledge of abortion laws in their state. Our secondary objective was to describe women's ability to discern myths about abortion from facts about abortion. STUDY DESIGN: This was a cross-sectional study of English- and Spanish-speaking women aged 18-49 in the United States. We enrolled members of the GfK KnowledgePanel, a probability-based, nationally-representative online sample. Our primary outcome was the proportion of correct answers to 12 questions about laws regulating abortion in a respondent's state. We asked five questions about common abortion myths. We used descriptive statistics to characterize performance on these measures and bivariate and multivariate modeling to identify risk factors for poor knowledge of state abortion laws. RESULTS: Of 2223 women contacted, 1057 (48%) completed the survey. The mean proportion of correct answers to 12 law questions was 18% (95% CI 17-20%). For three of five assessed myths, women endorsed myths about abortion over facts. Those who believe abortion should be illegal (aOR 2.18, CI 1.40-3.37), and those living in states with neutral or hostile state policies toward abortion (neutral aOR 1.99, CI 1.34-2.97; hostile aOR 1.6, CI 1.07-2.36) were at increased odds of poor law knowledge. CONCLUSIONS: Women had low levels of knowledge about state abortion laws and commonly endorse abortion myths. Women's knowledge of their state's abortion laws was associated with personal views about abortion and their state policy environment. IMPLICATIONS: Supporters of reproductive rights can use these results to show policy makers that their constituents are unlikely to know about laws being passed that may profoundly affect them. These findings underscore the potential benefit in correcting widely-held, medically-inaccurate beliefs about abortion so opinions about laws can be based on fact.

Duke Scholars

Altmetric Attention Stats
Dimensions Citation Stats

Published In

Contraception

DOI

EISSN

1879-0518

Publication Date

November 2020

Volume

102

Issue

5

Start / End Page

318 / 326

Location

United States

Related Subject Headings

  • Women's Rights
  • United States
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Pregnancy
  • Obstetrics & Reproductive Medicine
  • Humans
  • Female
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Attitude
  • Abortion, Legal
 

Citation

APA
Chicago
ICMJE
MLA
NLM
Swartz, J. J., Rowe, C., Morse, J. E., Bryant, A. G., & Stuart, G. S. (2020). Women's knowledge of their state's abortion regulations. A national survey. Contraception, 102(5), 318–326. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2020.08.001
Swartz, Jonas J., Carly Rowe, Jessica E. Morse, Amy G. Bryant, and Gretchen S. Stuart. “Women's knowledge of their state's abortion regulations. A national survey.Contraception 102, no. 5 (November 2020): 318–26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2020.08.001.
Swartz JJ, Rowe C, Morse JE, Bryant AG, Stuart GS. Women's knowledge of their state's abortion regulations. A national survey. Contraception. 2020 Nov;102(5):318–26.
Swartz, Jonas J., et al. “Women's knowledge of their state's abortion regulations. A national survey.Contraception, vol. 102, no. 5, Nov. 2020, pp. 318–26. Pubmed, doi:10.1016/j.contraception.2020.08.001.
Swartz JJ, Rowe C, Morse JE, Bryant AG, Stuart GS. Women's knowledge of their state's abortion regulations. A national survey. Contraception. 2020 Nov;102(5):318–326.
Journal cover image

Published In

Contraception

DOI

EISSN

1879-0518

Publication Date

November 2020

Volume

102

Issue

5

Start / End Page

318 / 326

Location

United States

Related Subject Headings

  • Women's Rights
  • United States
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Pregnancy
  • Obstetrics & Reproductive Medicine
  • Humans
  • Female
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Attitude
  • Abortion, Legal