Danielle Bessett Headshot

Danielle Bessett

Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Cincinnati-Main Campus
Chapter Member: Central Ohio SSN

About Danielle

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

Research discussed by Melanie Schefft, in "TV's Influence on Pregnancy, Childbirth More Powerful than Many Women Admit," EurekAlert!, February 13, 2018.
Quoted by Chandra Johnson in "How TV Depictions of Childbirth Could be Hurting Moms-to-Be," Deseret News , June 3, 2016.
Quoted by Laura Geggel in "Liberal and Conservative States Equally Clueless about Abortions," LiveScience, August 18, 2014.
Quoted by Brian Fung in "Increased Access to Health Care May Decrease Abortions," The Atlantic , August 24, 2012.


"How Ohio’s Proposed Abortion Bans Would Impact Travel Distance To Access Abortion Care" (with Payal Chakraborty, Stef Murawsky, Mikaela H. Smith, Michelle L. McGowan, and Alison H. Norris). Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health (2022).

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.

"Abortion Travel Within the United States: An Observational Study of Cross-State Movement To Obtain Abortion Care in 2017" (with Payal Chakraborty, Zoe Muzyczka, Elaina Johns-Wolf, and Jenny Higgins). The Lancet Regional Health 10 (2022).

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.

"Passage of Abortion Ban and Women’s Accurate Understanding of Abortion Legality." (with Payal Chakraborty, Alison Norris, Maria F. Gallo, John B. Casterline, and Abigail Norris Turner). American Journal Obstetrics and Gynecology 225, no. 1 (2021): 63.

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.

"Abortion Access in Ohio’s Changing Legislative Context, 2010–2018" (with Payal Chakraborty, Alison H. Norris, Kaiting Lang, Robert B. Hood, Sarah R. Hayford, and Lisa Keder). American Journal of Public Health (2020).

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.

"Federal, State, and Institutional Barriers to the Expansion of Medication and Telemedicine Abortion Services in Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia During the COVID-19 Pandemic." (with Payal Chakraborty, Kelsey Mello, Mikaela H. Smith, B. Jessie Hill, Alison H. Norris, and Michelle L. McGowan). Contraception Journal 103, no. 5 (2021): 111-116.

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.

"The Road to Fatherhood Using Assisted Reproductive Technology: Decision Making Processes and Experiences among Gay Male Intended Parents and Gestational Surrogates" (with Ilana B. Ressler, Julie M. Sroga, Sarah Rompola, Rachael M. Ferrari, Michael A. Thomas , and Steven R. Lindheim). Gynecology and Obstetrics Research 1, no. 1 (2014): 12-17.

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. 

"Abortion Stigma: A Reconceptualization of Constituents, Causes, and Consequences" (with Alison Norris, Julia Steinberg, Megan Kavanaugh, Silvia De Zordo, and Davida Becker). Women's Health Issues 21, no. 3 (2011): 49-54.

Discusses five reasons why abortion is stigmatized. Examines causes and consequences of abortion stigma to illustrate how it is manifest for affected groups.

"Does State-Level Context Matter for Individuals' Knowledge about Abortion, Legality, and Health? Challenging the 'Red States v. Blue States' Hypothesis" (with Alison Norris, Caitlin Gerdts, Lisa Littman, and Megan Kavanaugh). Culture, Health, and Sexuality 17, no. 6 (2015).

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.

"Pregnant with Possibilities: Constructing Normality in Stratified Reproduction" (New York University Press , forthcoming).

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.

"Connecting Knowledge about Abortion and Sexual and Reproductive Health to Belief about Abortion Restrictions: Findings from an Online Survey" (with Alison Norris, Megan L. Kavanuagh, and Lisa Littman). Women's Health Issues 23, no. 4 (2013): 239-247.

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.

"Barriers to Contraceptive Access after Health Care Reform: Experiences of Young Adults in Massachusetts" (with Joanna Prager, Julia Harvard, Danielle J. Murphy, Madina Agenor, and Angel M. Foster). Women's Health Issues 25, no. 2 (2015): 91-96.

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.