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Beyond the clinic: Preferences, motivations and experiences with alternative abortion care in the United States

Alison Ojanen-Goldsmith, MSW, MPHc, University of Washington, 2015

Project abstract

In recent years, access to abortion has decreased for many people in the United States and some have resorted to alternative means to end their pregnancies. Some individuals use alternative abortion methods even when there are clinical abortion services in the area. In addition to the common geographical, legal and financial contexts of abortion access, this study will also explore different aspects of abortion access, including psychosocial, cultural and institutional factors that may be equally important in determining which types of care are seen as accessible. Few studies have explored people’s preferences, motivations and experiences with alternative abortion methods outside the clinic or hospital setting, such as medicinal plants and herbs, self-procured pharmaceuticals or menstrual extraction/uterine aspiration by uncertified providers. These methods represent under-recognized routes of access to abortion care that could inform family planning providers and patient communities of the real spectrum of abortion care that is occurring today. Using in-depth semi-structured interviews, this study seeks to describe logistical and experiential factors and influences on the decision to seek alternative abortion care and the preferences, motivations and experiences of people who have tried alternative methods of abortion care in the United States.

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