Kathleen Broussard

Sociology, Population Research Center
Affiliated Graduate Students

I am a PhD candidate in Sociology and the Population Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. My research interests include sexual and reproductive health, fertility, gender, and social policy. In my dissertation, I use both quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate the individual, social, and structural determinants of health-seeking behaviors. Questions that motivate my research include: How do healthcare and medical technologies shape the meaning and experience of pregnancy, abortion, and childbearing? How do people's identities and beliefs influence their engagement with the formal healthcare system? My sole-authored paper in Social Science & Medicine responds to these questions through an analysis of the narratives of 68 women living in Ireland and Northern Ireland who sought abortion prior to its legalization. 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 fetus, method, and the environment where care is received. 

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. 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. 

My work appears in Social Science and Medicine, Population Studies, ContraceptionAmerican Journal of Public HealthPerspectives on Sexual and Reproductive HealthAmerican Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecologyand BMJ Sexual and Reproductive Healthand has been featured across major news outlets, including The New York Times and The Atlantic.