We conducted a qualitative study using semi-structured focus groups in 2018 with women in a provincial prison in Ontario, Canada. We asked participants about their experiences and perspectives of pregnancy and contraception related to healthcare in prison. We used a combination of deductive and inductive content analysis to categorize data. A concept map was generated using a reproductive justice framework.
The data reflected three components of a reproductive justice framework: 1) women have limited access to healthcare in prison, 2) reproductive safety and dignity influence attitudes toward pregnancy and contraception, and 3) women in prison want better reproductive healthcare. Discrimination and stigma were commonly invoked throughout women’s experiences in seeking reproductive healthcare.
Improving reproductive healthcare for women in prison is crucial to promoting reproductive justice in this population. Efforts to increase access to comprehensive, responsive, and timely reproductive healthcare should be informed by the needs and desires of women in prison and should actively seek to reduce their experience of discrimination and stigma in this context.