“It just seemed like a perfect storm”: A multi-methods feasibility study on the use of Facebook, Google Ads, and Reddit to collect data on abortion-seeking experiences from people who considered but did not obtain abortion care in the United States
Moseson H, Seymour JW, Zuniga C, Wollum A, Katz A, Thompson TA, Gerdts C. PLOS One. Mar 2022. DOI: 10.1371/0247201
Most studies of abortion access have recruited participants from abortion clinics, thereby missing people for whom barriers to care were insurmountable. Consequently, research may underestimate the nature and scope of barriers that exist. We aimed to recruit participants who had considered, but failed to obtain, an abortion using three online platforms, and to evaluate the feasibility of collecting data on their abortion-seeking experiences in a multi-modal online study. In 2018, we recruited participants for this feasibility study from Facebook, Google Ads, and Reddit for an online survey about experiences seeking abortion care in the United States; we additionally conducted in-depth interviews among a subset of survey participants. We completed descriptive analyses of survey data, and thematic analyses of interview data. Recruitment results have been previously published. For the primary outcomes of this analysis, over one month, we succeeded in capturing data on abortion-seeking experiences from 66 individuals who were not currently pregnant and reported not having obtained an abortion, nor visited an abortion facility, despite feeling that abortion could have been the best option for a recent pregnancy. A subset of survey respondents (n=14) completed in-depth interviews. Results highlighted multiple, reinforcing barriers to abortion care, including legal restrictions such as gestational limits and waiting periods that exacerbated financial and other burdens, logistical and informational barriers, as well as barriers to abortion care less frequently reported in the literature, such as a preference for medication abortion. These findings support the use of online recruitment to identify and survey an understudied population about their abortion-seeking experiences. Further, findings contribute to a more complete understanding of the full range of barriers to abortion care that people experience in the United States, and how these barriers intersect to not just delay, but to prevent people from obtaining abortion.