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Abortion
Exploring women’s experiences with abortion self-induction in the US

The use of misoprostol to self-induce abortion has been well-documented in Latin America, a setting where other methods of abortion are unavailable, unaffordable, or highly restricted. Clinical experience and recent media reports suggest that immigrant and other women may be taking up the practice in the US as well, raising concerns about women’s access to abortion and other reproductive health services. Legal ramifications are also of concern, as demonstrated by recent cases in which serious charges were brought against women who self-induced their abortions.

 

In collaboration with Gynuity Health Projects, we are conducting a mixed methods study to better understand abortion self-induction in three US cities with large Latina immigrant populations: Boston, New York, and San Francisco. Through short surveys implemented  in primary care clinics we will examine women’s knowledge about and attitudes toward abortion laws and services, as well as their awareness about and use of misoprostol and other agents to self-induce. We will conduct in-depth interviews with women reporting previous self-induction to explore their experiences with misoprostol, the reasons why they chose initially not to use legal abortion clinics, and insights about how their reproductive health needs might be better met. The results will be used to develop policy and practice recommendations for improving women’s reproductive health services, with a focus on access to safe abortion care for low-income and immigrant women.

 

The results of this research will be disseminated by an inter-disciplinary working group dedicated to this topic, which is led by Ibis, the Abortion Access Project, Gynuity Health Projects, and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

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