Does reproductive decision-making process differ across race and socioeconomic status within the context of an economic recession?

In recent years the United States economy has seen a recession that has negatively impacted the economic, psychic, and social lives of many Americans. More men and women have lost their jobs and health insurance and have had to rely on the governmental agencies for their support. The current economic recession has forced many women to change their plans for childbearing and contraception. Recently two large studies chronicled how women’s family planning decisions have changed during this financial crisis.

The research on women’s pregnancy and contraceptive decisions is relatively scarce. In order to understand how women negotiate their childbearing and contraceptive decisions during economic recessions we will ask the following questions: Does the reproductive decision-making process differ across race and socioeconomic status within the context of an economic recession? Our hypothesis is: during an economic recession, women desire to limit their pregnancies and thus their desire for contraception increases. However, resources (including employment and insurance) decline, so the desire for contraception and the ability to access it are mismatched. Our specific aims are : (1) to sample a diverse set of women in Southeastern Michigan to ascertain if their pregnancy decisions and contraceptive desires have changed with the economic recession; and (2) to explore changes in contraception access that accompanied the economic recession. Our research framework ultimately includes a mixed method analysis in order to explore the question of women’s family planning decisions during economic recession.

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