Non-physician clinicians can safely provide first trimester medical abortion

Reprod Health Matters. 2009 May;17(33):61-9. doi: 10.1016/S0968-8080(09)33445-X.


Mid-level clinicians are integral to provision of pregnancy-related care in many settings. Yet midwives and other non-physician clinicians are excluded from training and from providing medical abortion. A substantial body of evidence exists demonstrating that mid-level providers, including nurses and midwives specialized in pregnancy-related care for women, are either already competently involved in providing medical abortions or have the requisite skills to expand their scope of practice to include medical abortion with a short course of additional training. While additional evidence may be needed to show that second trimester medical abortion can be safely and effectively provided by trained mid-level providers, we argue that for first trimester medical abortion the evidence is sufficient for governments to implement, monitor and evaluate programmes that allow mid-level clinicians to offer first trimester medical abortion independently. Because mid-level clinicians often work in rural or remote areas where physicians are scarce or where there are few surgical facilities or equipment, the expansion of the medical abortion provider pool has the potential to greatly improve the reproductive health of women worldwide.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced*
  • Allied Health Personnel* / supply & distribution
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First*
  • Safety Management / standards*