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Are women aware of religious restrictions on reproductive health at Catholic hospitals? A survey of women’s expectations and preferences for family planning care

  • Maryam Guiahi
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 12631 E. 17th Ave Room 4203, Mailstop B192-2, Aurora, Colorado 80045.
    Affiliations
    University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Section of Family Planning
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  • Jeanelle Sheeder
    Affiliations
    University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Section of Family Planning
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  • Stephanie Teal
    Affiliations
    University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Section of Family Planning
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      Abstract

      Objective

      To understand if women anticipate a difference in reproductive healthcare when attending a Catholic institution.

      Study design

      A convenience sample of reproductive-aged women in the Denver metro area completed an online survey. Women were randomized to hypothetical women’s health clinics at either a secular or Catholic hospital and asked about expectations for family planning care. Questions covered contraception and management of abnormal or unintended pregnancy. We subsequently assessed provider/site preferences for care.

      Results

      We analyzed 236 surveys. The majority of participants expected their gynecologist to provide all family planning services presented. The only difference based on institution was that participants randomized to the Catholic hospital were more likely to expect natural family planning advice. At least half of respondents reported they would seek care from their gynecologist for the services surveyed with the exceptions of emergency contraception and elective abortion.

      Conclusions

      Overall, this cohort of women did not anticipate differences in reproductive healthcare based on institution. If women who enroll at Catholic hospitals do not receive information related to potential healthcare restrictions, their ability to act as informed healthcare consumers may be constrained.

      Implications

      Women did not anticipate differences in reproductive healthcare based on institution type (Catholic vs. secular) and, thus, their ability to act as informed healthcare consumers may be constrained.

      Keywords

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