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Title: Policy to Practice: Tracking Black Women's Reproductive Health and Contraceptive Access in Mississippi, New Jersey, and California
Authors: Onwochei, Kamsi
Advisors: Mojola, Sanyu
Department: Princeton School of Public and International Affairs
Class Year: 2024
Abstract: The June 2022 overturning of Roe v. Wade, coupled with the disparities that Black women already faced in accessing reproductive health care and comprehensive sex education, may have given rise to a period of wariness and uncertainty surrounding the future of reproductive freedom. Although past data has explored gaps in administering comprehensive sex education at the high school level, racial disparities in contraceptive access, and the potential racial disparities that could arise due to tightening abortion policies, past studies have not addressed how these respective topics may be connected, or how regional factors may be at play, specifically when considering potential policy implications across the United States (Northern vs. Southern vs. Western political, social, and cultural climate). To address this disparity in current data, I proposed a study wherein two groups of participants are surveyed: Group 1) Employees or founders of women’s health organizations in California, Mississippi, and New Jersey, and Group 2) College-age students who identify as Black women, and attended high school in the aforementioned regions. Group 1 subjects were presented with a series of questions regarding the state of Black women's access to comprehensive sex education, contraceptives, and abortion, and asked to answer honestly. Group 2 subjects were presented with a series of statements regarding both their current experience, and experiences in high school with contraceptive access and comprehensive sex education, and asked to rate how much they agree with each respective statement on a scale of 1 to 5. The subjects were also presented with a series of “yes” or “no” questions regarding their current views on and experiences with abortion access and reproductive policies and occasionally asked to support their answers with additional information. I aimed to answer the question: How does the availability of comprehensive sex education and contraceptive access during high school impact the current attitudes, experiences, and political stances regarding reproductive healthcare, specifically abortion rights, among Black women in Mississippi, California, and New Jersey? I hypothesized that access to comprehensive sex education and contraception in high school would be significantly associated with Black women’s current views on (and experiences with) reproductive health care and reproductive policy, and that the state in which individuals attended high school would be a significant predictor of the results. Additionally, I hypothesized that ultimately those who attended high school in California would show to have had the most comprehensive sex education and the most access to contraceptives in high school, be the most liberal in their current views on reproductive policy, and be the least concerned about losing their access to abortion services. In all, the study found that the state in which participants attended high school was not a significant predictor of the results. Irrespective of this, significant associations exist between the contraceptive access and sex education that Black women had access to in high school and their current views on, and experiences with, reproductive health care and reproductive policy. The results point to potential issues that states face with implementing reproductive policy, even in the most liberal states where individuals should presumably face the least barriers to accessing contraception and comprehensive sex education.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, 1929-2024

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