Abortion clinic patients' opinions about obtaining abortions from general women's health care providers

Patient Educ Couns. 2010 Dec;81(3):409-14. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2010.09.003.


Objective: Most U.S. women obtain abortions at specialty clinics. This qualitative study explores abortion clinic patients' opinions about receiving abortions from general women's health care providers.

Methods: We conducted 20 h-long, semi-structured interviews with diverse women who had abortions in the U.S. Heartland. Each described her usual health care provider and how she accessed abortion care. We used qualitative analytic methods to organize and interpret the data.

Results: Despite having a general provider, most women sought clinic abortions. Some women offered reasons for preferring specialty care and others for preferring abortion from their general provider. Most women assumed their general provider did not "do abortion" and many believed those providers were opposed to abortion. Women who had delivered a baby were concerned with their image in their general provider's eyes. Two women were denied care by their general providers.

Conclusion: Women's preferences for abortion care centered on privacy, cost, empathy, ability to control their image, and desire for safe quality care. Two women who sought abortions through their general providers experienced negative repercussions.

Practice implications: General providers should proactively make patients aware of their positions on abortion and if supportive indicate that they can provide that care and/or a referral.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / organization & administration
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Pregnancy
  • Primary Health Care
  • Qualitative Research
  • United States
  • Women's Health Services*
  • Young Adult