Date of Award

Spring 5-20-2016

Author's School

College of Arts & Sciences

Author's Program


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (A.B.)




This work highlights the stories women weave as they make their contraceptive decisions. It included their perceptions regarding cultural, religious, and economic barriers. Fifty-one women were interviewed using a semi-structured interview style of about thirty-eight questions in the South Grand St. Louis Planned Parenthood. Contraception itself was primarily thought of as a scientific technology; however, in the context of family planning, it took on social meanings that reflected preparedness in life, financial security, religious viewpoints and the ability to choose. Women expressed varying levels of religious influence. Discussing how each woman understands her own relationship with religion, God, and/or her cultural background, allowed for a nuanced discussion of contraception. Participants eagerly expressed themselves in terms of being in control of their decisions regardless of or in spite of external influences. Women did not want to be inhibited and were both happy and confident with the methods they chose. Mothers, partners, friends, and healthcare practitioners all served as sources of support and information. Convenience, comfort, and efficacy were key factors in contraceptive decision-making. Women had a broad range of experiences influencing contraception.


Dr. L. Lewis Wall

Additional Advisors

Dr. Gayle Fritz, Emma Reuter, Dr. Shanti Parikh, Dr. Priscilla Song