Ushma Upadhyay

Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California-San Francisco
Chapter Member: Bay Area SSN
Areas of Expertise:

About Ushma

Upadhyay is a public health Social Scientist trained in epidemiology and demography. Her expertise is in abortion safety, abortion access in the U.S., medication abortion, and state-level abortion restrictions. Currently, she is conducting research on the safety, efficacy, and acceptability of de-medicalized models of medication abortion care. As part of this work, she aims to understand how tele-health for abortion care impacts health equity. Upadhyay serves as Director of Research of the University of California Global Health Institute's Center of Expertise in Women’s Health, Gender, and Empowerment.


What Happened to Women's Health When the State of Ohio Forced the Use of Outdated Abortion Procedures?

  • Sarah C.M. Roberts
  • Ushma Upadhyay

Women's Experience with a 72-Hour Waiting Period for Abortion

  • Ushma Upadhyay

No Jargon Podcast

In the News

Ushma Upadhyay's research on abortion safety discussed by Lisa Rapaport, "Few U.S. Women Have Serious Complications After Abortions," WHBL, July 11, 2018.
Ushma Upadhyay's research on abortion safety discussed by Teddy Wilson, "There’s No Evidence That Abortion Is Dangerous. This Study Proves It.," Rewire.News, June 15, 2018.
Ushma Upadhyay quoted on abortion deserts by Teddy Wilson, "Where Anti-Choice Lawmakers are Elected, ‘Abortion Deserts’ Persist" Rewire.News, May 15, 2018.
Ushma Upadhyay quoted on abortion access by Jackie Flynn Mogensen, "This Map Depicts Abortion Access across America and it’s Really Bleak" Mother Jones, May 15, 2018.
Ushma Upadhyay quoted on abortion deserts by Annamarya Scaccia, "There are "Abortion Deserts" across the US, Research Finds, & They're a Threat to Public Health" Romper, May 14, 2018.
Ushma Upadhyay quoted by Amanda Marcotte, "War on Abortion’s New Phase: Mississippi Moves toward 15-Week Ban" Salon, February 6, 2018.
Ushma Upadhyay quoted by Auditi Guha, "New Hampshire Republicans: Ban Abortion Care at Eight Weeks" Rewire, February 1, 2018.
Ushma Upadhyay's research on Nicole Wong, "Campaign Launches to Increase Abortion Care at California Universities," New University, January 16, 2018.
"Kentucky’s New 20-Week Abortion Ban Will Have Serious Consequences," Ushma Upadhyay, Lexington Herald-Ledger, January 13, 2017.
Ushma Upadhyay quoted on restrictive abortion laws by Leigh Cuen, "Ohio Laws Intended to Protect Women Actually Made Abortion More Dangerous, Study Finds" Mic, August 31, 2016.
"We Need Abortion Laws Based on Science," Ushma Upadhyay, New York Times, August 30, 2016.
Ushma Upadhyay's research on abortion complication rates discussed by Emma Hinchliffe, "Ken Paxton Mischaracterizes Abortion Risk in Texas," Politifact, March 4, 2016.
Ushma Upadhyay's research on disparate access to reproductive health care discussed by Jenny Kutnery, "This is What Really Happens When Women are Denied Abortions," Mic, January 26, 2016.
Ushma Upadhyay's research on turnaway data discussed by Annalee Newitz, "New Study Sheds Light on What Happens to Women Who are Denied Abortions," Arts Technica, January 24, 2016.
Ushma Upadhyay's research on the new requirements for medication abortions discussed by Molly Redden, "The War on Women is Over – and Women Lost," Mother Jones, Spetember 2015.
Ushma Upadhyay's research on abortion safety discussed by Kathryn Doyle, "California Study Finds Abortion Complications Very Rare," Reuters, December 2014.


"The Effect of Abortion on Having and Achieving Aspirational One-Year Plans" (with M. Antonia Biggs and Diana Greene Foster). BMC Women’s Health 15, no. 102 (2015).

Examines whether accessing abortion allows women to achieve personal life goals. Data are from the Turnaway Study, and compared 4 groups of women: women who were just over a facility’s gestational age limit, were denied an abortion and went on to parent the child; or did not parent; women who were just under a facility’s gestational age limit and received an abortion; and women who presented in the first trimester and received an abortion.

"Incidence of Emergency Department Visits and Complications after Abortion" (with Sheila Desai, Vera Zildar, Daniel Grossman, Patricia Anderson, and Diana Taylor). Obstetrics and Gynecology 125, no. 1 (2015): 175-183.

Examines almost 55,000 abortions among women covered by the California Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, to estimate rate of complications from abortion, including complications diagnosed or treated at emergency departments (EDs).

"Denial of Abortion because of Provider Gestational Age Limits in the United States" (with Tracy Weitz, Rachel Jones, Rana Barar, and Diana Greene Foster). American Journal of Public Health 104, no. 9 (2014): 1687-1694.

Examines factors influencing delay in seeking abortion and the outcomes for women denied abortion care because of gestational age limits at abortion facilities. Finds that adolescents and women who did not recognize they were pregnant early were most likely to delay seeking care. Argues that the most common reason for delay was having to raise money for travel and procedure costs. Estimates that more than 4000 women a year are denied an abortion in the U.S. because of facility gestational limits and must carry unwanted pregnancies to term. 

"Development and Validation of a Reproductive Autonomy Scale" (with Shari Dworkin, Tracy Weitz, and Diana Greene Foster). Studies in Family Planning 45, no. 1 (2014): 19-41.

Develops and validates a multidimensional instrument to measure “reproductive autonomy” or women’s ability to achieve their reproductive intentions. Provides researchers with a tool to assess women’s power regarding contraceptive use, pregnancy, and childbearing, both domestically and globally.