Interest in Medication and Aspiration Abortion Training among Colorado Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Midwives, and Physician Assistants

Womens Health Issues. 2020 May-Jun;30(3):167-175. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2020.02.001. Epub 2020 Apr 22.


Objectives: We examined advanced practice clinicians' (APCs: nurse practitioners [NPs], certified nurse midwives [CNMs], physician assistants) interest in training to provide medication and aspiration abortion in Colorado, where abortion provision by APCs is legal.

Methods: We surveyed a stratified random sample of APCs, oversampling women's health (CNMs/women's health nurse practitioners [WHNPs]) and rural APCs. We examined prevalence and predictors of interest in abortion training using weighted χ2 tests.

Results: Of 512 participants (21% response), the weighted sample is 50% NPs, 41% physician assistants, and 9% CNMs/WHNPs; 55% provide primary care. Only 12% are aware they can legally provide abortion. A minority of participants disagree that medication abortion (15%) or aspiration abortion (25%) should be in APC scope of practice. Almost one-third (29%) are interested in medication abortion training and 16% are possibly interested; interest is highest among CNMs/WHNPs (52%) (p < .01). Interest in aspiration abortion training is 15% with another 11% who are possibly interested; interest is highest among CNMs/WHNPs (34%) (p < .01). There are no significant differences in abortion training interest by rural practice location or by receipt of abortion education in graduate school. Participants not interested in medication and aspiration abortion training cited abortion being outside their specialty practice scope (44% and 38%, respectively) and religious or personal objections (42% and 34%). Among clinicians interested in medication abortion training, 33% believe their clinical facility is likely to allow them to provide this service, compared with 16% for aspiration abortion.

Conclusions: Interest in abortion training among Colorado APCs is substantial. However, facility barriers to abortion provision must be addressed to increase abortion access with APCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / education*
  • Colorado
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nurse Midwives / education*
  • Nurse Practitioners / education*
  • Physician Assistants / education*
  • Pregnancy
  • Rural Population
  • Surveys and Questionnaires