Differences in abortion-related knowledge among women involved in the criminal legal system in three US cities



      We examined if abortion-related knowledge among women with criminal legal system involvement differed in three U.S. cities in states with varying abortion policies.

      Study Design

      Respondents were self-identified women with criminal legal system involvement. Data come from a cross-sectional baseline survey of 381 women in three U.S. cities: Oakland, California, Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri, and Birmingham, Alabama. The primary outcome, high abortion-related knowledge, was based on a 10-item scale dichotomized into low vs high abortion-related knowledge. We used descriptive statistics, bivariable associations, and logistic regression to assess the association between high abortion-related knowledge, city of residence, and other possible related factors.


      Respondents in Kansas City, KS/MO and Birmingham, AL had lower odds of high abortion-related knowledge compared to respondents in Oakland, CA (OR: 0.19, 95% CI: 0.10–0.38 and OR: 0.17, 95% CI: 0.11–0.28, respectively). In adjusted analysis, the association remained after controlling for race/ethnicity, insurance status, and community supervision past year.


      Findings underscore the need for communicating clear and accurate information about abortion care, especially in states where laws and ongoing political challenges make it difficult to access both reliable information and services.


      Efforts to disseminate accurate information regarding abortion care, particularly among marginalized people, should utilize multiple venues in addition to traditional healthcare information sources. Reproductive justice advocates should connect with jails and probation offices to reach people with criminal legal system involvement and foster increased knowledge of reproductive rights and services.


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