Determinants of demand: method selection and provider preference among US women seeking abortion services

Contraception. 2008 Jun;77(6):397-404. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2008.02.003. Epub 2008 Apr 18.


Background: Medication abortion has the potential to increase abortion availability, primarily through new provider networks; however, without a better understanding of how and why women make decisions regarding both their abortion method and their provider, expansion efforts may be misguided and valuable resources may be wasted.

Study design: We undertook an exploratory study to investigate method and provider preferences. Semistructured one-on-one interviews were conducted with 205 abortion clients at three family planning clinics.

Results: Study participants greatly preferred the clinic setting for their abortion; the majority of women in the study would not have gone to their regular physician if they had been given the option. In addition, method choice trumps provider choice for the majority of women who would have preferred their regular provider. Participants who chose the aspiration procedure were more likely to have previous knowledge about the medication method. Travel time was not a predictor of preferring one's regular physician over the clinic.

Conclusions: Expanding provider networks via the private sector is unlikely to be a panacea. In addition to these efforts, more attention may need to be paid to addressing logistic barriers to access. Physicians offering abortion services need to let their patients know they offer such services prior to their patients' need for them. Questions remain regarding the information being circulated about medication abortion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortifacient Agents
  • Abortion, Induced / methods*
  • Abortion, Induced / statistics & numerical data*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Decision Making
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Needs and Demand*
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Unwanted
  • United States
  • Vacuum Curettage


  • Abortifacient Agents