Medication abortion among Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders: Knowledge, access, and attitudes

Almost no research to date has examined the abortion needs of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (AANHPIs) in the United States. While previous research shows lower rates of abortion among Asian women compared to other racial ethnic groups, abortion rates vary by subgroups when disaggregating data by ethnicity or country of origin. In addition, no literature currently exists documenting AANHPI experiences with and/or use of medication abortion (MA) in the US.

This study aims to assess and document AANHPI’s knowledge of, attitudes towards, and experiences with MA within and across subgroups, countries, and generations. Understanding AANHPI people’s MA experiences is critical for improving access to and quality of abortion care, and based on our findings, we will recommend ways to improve and increase access to MA at the individual, community, and health system levels.

This study is grounded in the importance of recognizing the diverse range of communities often aggregated into the AANHPI category and seeks to understand how people may differ in their MA knowledge, attitudes, and experiences. The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) and Ibis Reproductive Health, in collaboration with a Community Advisory Board (CAB), used a mixed methods, community-based participatory research approach (CBPR) to conduct 29 in-depth interviews (IDIs), 17 focus groups (FGDs), and survey 1500 randomly recruited AANHPI people of reproductive age (16-49 years) in the United States.

IDIs were conducted with AANHPI people who had a medication abortion in the past five years to understand their experiences accessing MA. FGDs were conducted with AANHPI people who were grouped based on the language that they speak or their specific identity. The survey randomly sampled a roughly equal number of respondents from each of the following groups: Asian Indian, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese​, Filipino​, and NHPIs. The survey was administered in English, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese. Qualitative data was collected from September 2021-February 2022 and the survey was fielded in September 2022.