January 2020

Texas women’s decisions and experiences regarding self-managed abortion

Fuentes L, Baum S, Keefe-Oates B, White K, Hopkins K, Potter J, Grossman D. Texas women’s decisions and experiences regarding self-managed abortion. BMC Women's Health. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12905-019-0877-0

Background: Prior research has shown that a small proportion of U.S. women attempt to self-manage their abortion. The objective of this study is to describe Texas women’s motivations for and experiences with attempts to self-manage an abortion. The objective of this study is to describe Texas women’s motivations for and experiences with attempts to self-manage an abortion.

Methods: We report results from two data sources: two waves of surveys with women seeking abortion services at Texas facilities in 2012 and 2014 and qualitative interviews with women who reported attempting to self-manage their abortion while living in Texas at some time between 2009 and 2014. We report the prevalence of attempted selfmanaged abortion for the current pregnancy among survey respondents, and describe interview participants’ decisionmaking and experiences with abortion self-management.

Results: 6.9% (95% CI 5.2–9.0%) of abortion clients (n = 721) reported they had tried to end their current pregnancy on their own before coming to the clinic for an abortion. Interview participants (n = 18) described multiple reasons for their decision to attempt to self-manage abortion. No single reason was enough for any participant to consider selfmanaging their abortion; however, poverty intersected with and layered upon other obstacles to leave them feeling they had no other option. Ten interview participants reported having a complete abortion after taking medications, most of which was identified as misoprostol. None of the six women who used home remedies alone reported having a successful abortion; many described using these methods for several days or weeks which ultimately did not work, resulting in delays for some, greater distress, and higher costs.

Conclusion: These findings point to a need to ensure that women who may consider self-managed abortion have accurate information about effective methods, what to expect in the process, and where to go for questions and follow-up care. There is increasing evidence that given accurate information and access to clinical consultation, selfmanaged abortion is as safe as clinic-based abortion care and that many women find it acceptable, while others may prefer to use clinic-based abortion care.

Tagged with Abortion, United States