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Women’s and providers’ experiences of second-trimester abortion in the Heartland

Kelly Blanchard, Ibis Reproductive Health, 2012

Project abstract

There is currently very little published data on women’s and providers’ experiences with second-trimester abortion. The goal of this project is to fill a gap in the literature by collecting detailed data on women’s and providers’ experiences with second-trimester abortion to identify strategies to improve services and support providers.

This mixed-methods study includes a quantitative survey of second-trimester abortion clients (n=120) at Midwest clinics to collect data on women’s pregnancy history, contraceptive use, health care-seeking behavior, disclosure and experience of the abortion, as well as knowledge about abortion laws and restrictions.

We will also conduct in-depth interviews with women (n=15) and clinic staff (n=10) to inform survey development and collect rich data on decision making, disclosure, stigma and provider’s motivations for offering the service. Women will be asked about barriers to earlier abortion and delays in accessing care, as well as interactions with their partners, family members, and clinic staff; we will also ask about their opinions on later abortion, experience of the procedure, and ideas about ways to improve the service. We will ask clinic staff about their training, decision to work in abortion care, their or the clinic’s gestational age limits, job satisfaction and things they find easy or difficult, their experience discussing their work with family and community members, and opinions about how their clinic or providers and policymakers more generally can address women’s and providers’ needs.

Our study results will address the existing gap in data from the Midwest, where access to services is more restricted, and will aid advocates in efforts to fight new and roll back existing later abortion restrictions; the combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches with both second-trimester clients and staff is unique and will provide rich data to identify potential interventions for improving services and support for women and providers.

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