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Responding to crisis: Abortion providers and current restrictions on abortion care

Sarah Roberts, DrPH, University of California, San Francisco

Project abstract

The present situation of abortion care in many states is widely acknowledged to be the gravest crisis abortion providers in those states have experienced since the Roe v Wade decision in 1973. An unprecedented number of restrictions have been passed by state legislatures since the 2010 elections, and this stream of restrictions shows no signs of abating. Unlike earlier enacted restrictions, such as waiting periods, mandated counseling scripts and parental notifications, which are cumbersome and often very difficult for patients, but largely manageable by providers, this newest wave of restrictions, such as requirements for hospital privileges for clinic doctors, Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) laws, and hospital transfer agreements, has the capacity to force closure of abortion-providing facilities. Numerous clinic closures have already occurred in a number of states.

The study we propose to SFP is an examination of how abortion providers in the most impacted states are responding to these restrictions. (For purposes of this study, we are defining clinic directors as “abortion providers,” as they are the ones most directly charged with complying with new laws and regulations).

We plan to follow 10 providers from 8 highly impacted states over a year-long period, from July 2014 to June 30, 2015, at this particularly consequential moment in abortion care. We will question these providers, on several occasions, about such matters as their strategies of compliance, the impact of this struggle on the quality of care offered to their patients, and the impact on staff's and their own morale.

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