Dr. Bessett (she/her) is a faculty affiliate of both the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Department and the Medical Scientist Training Program. Dr. Bessett directs UC's Kunz Center for Social Research and co-leads OPEN, the Ohio Policy Evaluation Network. Her research centers on the sociology of reproduction, including patient experiences of reproductive processes, pregnancy embodiment, and inequality in abortion access and care.
In the News
Shows the REMS on mifepristone is a barrier to expansion of medication and telemedicine abortion services in OH, KY, and WV, but lifting of the REMS alone would not expand access to medication abortion because of other state restrictions.
Studies how travel distance to abortion care would be impacted if any of three of Ohio's proposed abortion bans go into effect in a post-Roe context. Stresses distance for Ohioans would increase dramatically from an average of 26 miles as of February 2022 to 157 miles in a best case post-Roe scenario or 269 miles in a worst-case scenario.
Mentions in the US in 2017, an average of 8% of patients left their state of residence to access abortion care. Shows state-level abortion policy and scarcity of abortion facilities are associated with cross-state travel to obtain abortion care.
Discusses how among reproductive-aged women in Ohio, legislative and judicial activities around Ohio's 6-week abortion ban was associated with increased percentages of women believing abortion to be illegal. Clarifies that Ohio lawmaker's attempts to restrict abortion in the state could lead to women believing that abortion is illegal, even when when unsuccessful.
Examines abortion utilization in Ohio from 2010 to 2018 when about 15 laws restricting abortion went into effect. Reveals abortion policies co-occur with later abortions, suggesting delays to abortion care. Restrictive policies also increase geographic inequities, especially in rural areas.
Identifies potential needs for improvement in the decision making process for gay male couples and their gestational surrogates. Discusses an overall lack in support from assisted reproductive technology programs, attorneys, obstetricians, and pediatricians. Finds that there needs to be increased sensitivity and support from those providing services to the intended parents and gestational surrogate.
Discusses five reasons why abortion is stigmatized. Examines causes and consequences of abortion stigma to illustrate how it is manifest for affected groups.
Examines individuals’ knowledge about abortion in relation to political context of their current state of residence, assess health-related and legality abortion knowledge, to find that state-level conservatism does not modify the existing relationships between individual predictors and each of the two types of abortion knowledge. Disputes the ‘red states’ versus ‘blue states’ hypothesis, and finds that knowledge about abortion’s health effects in the USA is low.
Explores racial, ethnic, and class disparities by analyzing how pregnant women across these social groups see, interpret, and value their reproductive efforts using the obstetric concept of “normal pregnancy” as a lens. The book reveals that “normal” is a paradox: it appears self-evident but communicates complex cultural assumptions about pregnancy, mothering, and anticipated children.
Examines individuals' knowledge about abortion in the context of their knowledge about other sexual and reproductive health (SRH) issues, including contraception, abortion, pregnancy, and birth.
Explores how Massachusetts' 2006 health insurance reforms affected access to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services for young adults. Finds that young adult-targeted efforts should address the challenges of health service utilization unique to this population.