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Abortion providers’ experiences with and management of stigmatization in freestanding and hospital-based clinics

Molly Murphy, MPH, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2015

Project abstract

Background: By the age of 45, more than half of all women in the U.S. will have experienced an unintended pregnancy, and three in ten will have had an abortion. Simultaneous demand and lack of support for abortion care means that those who provide this care can be stigmatized. Abortion stigma deters individuals from entering the abortion provision workforce, thereby impacting the availability of abortion overall. A recent quantitative study demonstrated that stigma is experienced differently by abortion providers in freestanding clinics compared to those in hospital-based clinics, but qualitative inquiry is required to illuminate the specific processes and resources that impact providers’ experiences of stigma in these different contexts.

Objectives: In this study, “abortion providers” includes all involved in the provision of abortion care (i.e. physicians, nurses, administrators, etc.). The study will explore the meaning of abortion work to providers, how providers experience and manage stigmatization of their work, and how these experiences and stigma management strategies are different for providers in freestanding versus hospital-based settings.

Methods: The study’s mixed methods design features qualitative observation of clinic settings, in-depth interviews with providers, and quantitative assessments of abortion providers’ experiences of work-related stigma.

Outcomes: Study findings will contribute to our understanding of contextual influences on abortion provision stigma, advance theory on abortion provision stigma as a whole, and inform future interventions to decrease stigma among abortion providers.

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