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The Relationship Between Abortion Policy and Intimate Partner Violence in the United

dc.contributor.advisorBjork-James, Sophie
dc.contributor.authorHusain, Alina
dc.descriptionIn the United States, abortion has been a sharply divisive policy issue for multiple centuries. In fact, the first notable push to criminalize abortion came as early as the mid-nineteenth century when the American Medical Association (AMA) began lobbying for policies outlawing the procedure (King, 1992). The goal of the AMA at the time was to ostracize doulas and midwives in an attempt to gain comprehensive control over women’s reproductive matters. Despite this fairly business-minded motivation, the AMA represented the issue to policymakers and the public as a deeply moral and ethical dilemma. Within a few decades, the AMA had successfully persuaded the majority of US states to criminalize abortions and set off a polarizing policy debate that has continued on to the present day. When looking at abortion policy in the US today, there is no turning point as significant as the 1973 US Supreme Court ruling in the case Roe v. Wade. In a landmark decision, the court ruled that a pregnant woman’s choice to seek an abortion was protected by the Fourteenth Amendment and state laws outlawing abortions “without regard to pregnancy stage and without recognition of the other interests involved” unduly infringed on women’s right to privacy (Roe v. Wade, 1973). Prior to 1973, abortion was restricted in 47 out of 50 states making Roe v. Wade a drastic shift in policy for the vast majority of the country (Greenhouse and Siegel, 2010). In the decades following the ruling, the country saw an ever-increasing level of polarization surrounding abortion policy with many states moving decidedly towards either protective or restrictive legislation. Since 1973, 15 states have passed laws protecting access to abortion, while 1,320 bills have been passed across a range of states to limit access (Abortion Policy in the Absence of Roe, 2021; Nash and Naide, 2021). In particular, legislation seeking to regulate and reduce abortion access has reached an all-time high in recent years. In 2021 alone, 106 anti-abortion policies were passed, setting a new record (Nash, 2021). As abortion policy in the US states has become increasingly polarized, it is becoming prudent that additional research be done to understand how these policies may impact a number of other issues. Reproductive healthcare policies, particularly restrictive ones, frequently build off of existing structural vulnerabilities, like race and socioeconomic status, ultimately increasing the probability of already vulnerable populations to experience violence and abuse (Sasseville et al., 2022). Specifically, little work has been done to understand how abortion policy interacts with gender-based violence (GBV), and more specifically intimate partner violence (IPV). GBV refers to any type of physical, sexual, or psychological harm that is rooted in “exploiting unequal power relationships between genders,” while IPV is a form of GBV specifically referring to “abuse or aggression that occurs in a romantic relationship” (“Introduction to Domestic Violence and Gender Based Violence,” n.d.; “Preventing Intimate Partner Violence,” n.d.). While GBV and IPV both occur across the gender spectrum, both issues predominantly impact cisgender and transgender women and have increasingly become linked to women’s equality and social mobility (True, 2012). In one study by Moore et al. (2010), researchers found that among female survivors of IPV, almost 75 percent had experienced reproductive control as a form of abuse. Similar to how different forms of abortion policy seek to alter women’s access to reproductive health resources, the prevalence of IPV, particularly male reproductive control, is also heavily impacted by the availability of social resources, like women’s shelters and family planning centers (McClennen et al., 2016). With this framework in mind, it becomes clear that there may be a relationship between the level of abortion access and rates of IPV against women. As a result, this paper will examine to what extent a state’s abortion policies indicate the prevalence of IPV against women, and vice versa? Furthermore, it will assess how this relationship changes across states that have implemented increasingly restrictive or liberal legislation regarding abortion. After assessing the existing literature on both abortion policy and IPV in the United States, this research will use a mixed methods approach to understand if a quantitative or qualitative relationship exists between these two variables. This is significant because the relationship between these issues is largely understudied yet they are both rooted in similar economic, social, and political underpinnings.en_US
dc.titleThe Relationship Between Abortion Policy and Intimate Partner Violence in the Uniteden_US

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