Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Dr. Andrea Henderson

First Reader

Dr. Laura Brashears

Second Reader

Dr. Laura Brashears


The objective of this study is to see if there are racial disparities in hormonal contraception use amongst USC Columbia undergraduate women, similar to nationwide trends noted in previous studies. This research is important as undesired pregnancies are more prevalent for Black and Hispanic women, and recent legislative changes throughout the nation - and specifically in South Carolina - are challenging abortion rights, thereby increasing the importance of birth control in preventing an undesired pregnancy. Increasing access to hormonal birth control serves to increase body autonomy and a woman’s agency over reproduction, specifically in the face of these current challenges to reproductive rights. A survey of 273 undergraduate women was conducted to determine if a racial disparity existed on hormonal contraception use. Additionally, I investigated the common barriers to hormonal contraceptive access, how students are gaining information on hormonal contraception, and how many legal changes in South Carolina are affecting demand and accessibility of hormonal contraception among USC undergraduate women. Analysis of the data found that there was not a significant difference in hormonal contraception use amongst Black, Hispanic, and Asian students compared to their White peers. However, there were racial differences in how students were gaining information on hormonal contraception, which reveals different avenues for increasing the availability, accuracy, and reliability of resources on the topic. Other findings reveal that these students are open to the newly passed “Pharmacy Access Act” in South Carolina. Surveyed students also have a greater desire for hormonal birth control in the face of abortion restrictions and are concerned about changing legislation that impacts the accessibility of information on abortion, and indirectly birth control, online.

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© 2023, Ian L Mencken