Kathleen Broussard

PhD Candidate at the University of Texas at Austin


Hi there! I'm a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and a fellow at the Population Research Center. My research interests include sexual and reproductive health, fertility, gender, social networks, and social policy.

For my dissertation, I designed and implemented an original survey, conducted in-depth interviews, and analyzed longitudinal data to explore people’s attitudes and decision-making processes surrounding contraceptive use, abortion, and formal healthcare engagement. My work considers the individual, social, and structural determinants of people's experiences of healthcare and attitudes towards medicine. I take a transnational approach, exploring these topics across borders and within specific political contexts in the U.S., Latin America, Europe, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

My work appears in Social Science and Medicine, Population Studies, Contraception, American Journal of Public HealthPerspectives on Sexual and Reproductive HealthAmerican Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, and BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Health. It has also been featured across major news outlets, including The New York Times and The Atlantic. In support of my research, I was awarded the 2019 Emerging Scholars in Family Planning grant from the Society of Family Planning and the NICHD Pre-Doctoral Training Fellowship in Demography.

My sole-authored paper in Social Science & Medicine responds to these questions through an analysis of the narratives of 68 women living in two countries where abortion access was highly restricted (Ireland and Northern Ireland). These women either left the country to receive clinic-based care or obtained medications through informal channels to self-manage an abortion at home. In this work, I situate self-managed abortion within the continuum of (de)medicalization and reveal the ways medical technology and healthcare provision shape individual perceptions and beliefs about pain, the body, and the environment where care is received. 

Beyond my dissertation, I have been a research associate on three collaborative projects: the Texas Policy Evaluation Project (TxPEP), which evaluates the impact of reproductive health legislation; Project SANA, a study of self-managed abortion in the United States; and Tsogolo la Thanzi (TLT), a longitudinal study examining young people's reproductive goals and behaviors amidst an AIDS epidemic.

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