Background: Transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive people who were assigned female or intersex at birth experience pregnancy and have abortions. Scarce data have been published on individual abortion experiences or preferences of this understudied population.
Objective: This study aimed to fill existing evidence gaps on the abortion experiences and preferences of transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive people in the United States to inform policies and practices to improve access to and quality of abortion care for this population.
Study design: In 2019, we recruited transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive people who were assigned female or intersex at birth at the age of ≥18 years from across the United States to participate in an online survey about sexual and reproductive health recruited through The Population Research in Identities and Disparities for Equality Study and online postings. We descriptively analyzed closed- and open-ended survey responses related to pregnancy history, abortion experiences, preferences for abortion method, recommendations to improve abortion care for transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive people, and respondent sociodemographic characteristics.
Results: Most of the 1694 respondents were <30 years of age. Respondents represented multiple gender identities and sexual orientations and resided across all 4 United States Census Regions. Overall, 210 respondents (12%) had ever been pregnant; these 210 reported 433 total pregnancies, of which 92 (21%) ended in abortion. For respondents' most recent abortion, 41 (61%) were surgical, 23 (34%) were medication, and 3 (5%) were another method (primarily herbal). Most recent abortions took place at ≤9 weeks' gestation (n=41, 61%). If they were to need an abortion today, respondents preferred medication abortion over surgical abortion in a 3:1 ratio (n=703 vs n=217), but 514 respondents (30%) did not know which method they would prefer. The reasons for medication abortion preference among the 703 respondents included a belief that it is the least invasive method (n=553, 79%) and the most private method (n=388, 55%). To improve accessibility and quality of abortion care for transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive patients, respondents most frequently recommended that abortion clinics adopt gender-neutral or gender-affirming intake forms, that providers use gender-neutral language, and that greater privacy be incorporated into the clinic.
Conclusion: These data contribute substantially to the evidence base on individual experiences of and preferences for abortion care for transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive people. Findings can be used to adapt abortion care to better include and affirm the experiences of this underserved population.
Keywords: abortion; abortion method preference; induced abortion; intersex; medication abortion; sexual and gender minorities; surgical abortion; transgender persons.
Copyright © 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.