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Identifying motivations and barriers to increasing abortion providers in South Dakota: why are physicians opting out?

Karina Laqua, MSW, Planned Parenthood Minnesota South Dakota North Dakota

While recent studies show that there are barriers identified to providing medical abortions, there are clinics and physicians that overcome these barriers to provide the service. Prior research has not specifically identified barriers preventing doctors from providing medical abortions in South Dakota. Currently, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS) is the sole provider of abortion in South Dakota, placing significant travel and cost burdens on out-of-state providers. Additionally, PPMNS sends abortion providers to a single metropolitan area, severely limiting abortion access across the State. However, there are several Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN) and family medicine groups practicing throughout the State with credentials necessary to prescribe mifepristone. Using surveys and focus groups, this study will explore motivations and barriers impacting South Dakota providers' decisions to opt out of medication abortion provision, and their knowledge, skills, and attitudes related to medication abortion. Gathering both quantitative and qualitative data will allow us to explore the barriers that physicians identify to providing medical abortion and to investigate possible facilitators that may encourage them to be abortion providers in the future. We plan to utilize our data to develop training and outreach for physicians interested in medical abortion provision in South Dakota. In doing so, we believe that more providers will prescribe mifepristone and expand abortion options for women in South Dakota who seek abortion care.


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