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Abortion Beyond the Binary

Phie Jacobs

When it comes to accessing abortions and other reproductive healthcare, transgender people throughout the United States face a minefield of issues — from getting insurance coverage to dealing with medical providers who don’t know how to treat them, to weathering discrimination — but very little research exists on how bad these problems are, the impacts they have, or potential solutions. Currently, only a few national-level studies have investigated how trans people experience the US healthcare system, and no major studies measure the number of trans people who undergo abortions, the type of abortions they receive, or the challenges they face when accessing these services. The few studies that do exist suggest that, due to myriad legal, financial, and social barriers, trans people often struggle to obtain the healthcare services they need.

In 2017, this knowledge gap spurred Heidi Moseson and Sachiko Ragosta, two public health researchers at Ibis Reproductive Health in Oakland, California, to begin developing the first national-level survey into the reproductive healthcare experiences of trans Americans. The survey, which ended data collection in 2019 and is still in the analysis phase, included input from more than 3,000 transgender and nonbinary respondents. The project is unprecedented in terms of size, scope, and specificity, and is currently the only major study in this field that was designed with consultation from those within the trans community and is led by a scientist who is gender diverse themself — Ragosta identifies as nonbinary and uses they/them pronouns.

Written by
Phie Jacobs
Avatar Written by Phie Jacobs