Date of Award

Winter 1988

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Sally K Ward


This study examines five factors predicted to be related to abortion, and assesses their influence on the availability and use of abortion services. A policy implementation framework is used to explore, conceptualize and analyze the extent to which these factors may have important effects on abortion services. Availability and use of abortion services are viewed as measures of the implementation of the 1973 Supreme Court rulings on abortion. State level data are used to investigate the extent to which the predicted factors influence abortion services.

This study reveals that many factors associated with the issue of abortion work together to influence abortion policy implementation. It demonstrates that availability and use of abortion services are conceptually distinct measures of policy implementation, and that the demand for abortion is separate from how readily services are available. Availability is affected by differing views concerning the family, economic status of women, pressures of social movements and availability of physicians. Use of abortion services is affected by the social and political climate primarily through availability of abortion providers, along with existing characteristics of the health care system and with the level of demand for abortion. In order to increase the availability of abortion services, it is recommended that the social and political climate of a community be assessed in conjunction with the limitations associated with the availability of health care services.