All Publications

  • US Abortion Care Providers' Perspectives on Self-Managed Abortion QUALITATIVE HEALTH RESEARCH Baldwin, A., Johnson, D. M., Broussard, K., Tello-Perez, L., Madera, M., Ze-Noah, C., Padron, E., Aiken, A. A. 2022: 10497323221077296


    State-level restrictions on abortion access may prompt greater numbers of people to self-manage their abortion. The few studies exploring perspectives of providers towards self-managed abortion are focused on physicians and advanced practice clinicians. Little is known about the wider spectrum of abortion care providers who encounter self-managed abortion in their clinic-based work. To gain a deeper understanding of this issue and inform future care delivery, we conducted in-depth interviews with 46 individuals working in a range of positions in 46 abortion clinics across 29 states. Our interpretative analysis resulted in themes shaped by beliefs about safety and autonomy, and a tension between the two: that self-managed abortion is too great a risk, that people are capable of self-managing an abortion, and that people have a right to a self-managed abortion. Our findings highlight the importance of increasing knowledge and clarifying values among all abortion care providers, including clinic staff.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/10497323221077296

    View details for Web of Science ID 000778909200001

    View details for PubMedID 35322703

  • Knowledge, interest, and motivations surrounding self-managed medication abortion among patients at three Texas clinics AMERICAN JOURNAL OF OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY Aiken, A. A., Broussard, K., Johnson, D. M., Padron, E., Starling, J. E., Scott, J. G. 2020; 223 (2): 238.e1-238.e10


    A rapid increase in restrictive abortion legislation in the United States has sparked renewed interest in self-managed abortion as a response to clinic access barriers. Yet little is known about knowledge of, interest in, and experiences of self-managed medication abortion among patients who obtain abortion care in a clinic.We examined patients' knowledge of, interest in, and experience with self-managed medication abortion before presenting to the clinic. We characterized the clinic- and person-level factors associated with these measures. Finally, we examined the reasons why patients express an interest in or consider self-management before attending the clinic.We surveyed 1502 abortion patients at 3 Texas clinics in McAllen, San Antonio, and Fort Worth. All individuals seeking abortion care who could complete the survey in English or Spanish were invited to participate in an anonymous survey conducted using iPads. The overall response rate was 90%. We examined the prevalence of 4 outcome variables, both overall and separately by site: (1) knowledge of self-managed medication abortion; (2) having considered self-managing using medications before attending the clinic; (3) interest in medication self-management as an alternative to accessing care at the clinic; and (4) having sought or tried any method of self-management before attending the clinic. We used binary logistic regression models to explore the clinic- and patient-level factors associated with these outcome variables. Finally, we analyzed the reasons reported by those who had considered medication self-management before attending the clinic, as well as the reasons reported by those who would be interested in medication self-management as an alternative to in-clinic care.Among all respondents, 30% knew about abortion medications available outside the clinic setting (37% in Fort Worth, 33% in McAllen, 19% in San Antonio, P < .001), and among those with prior knowledge, 28% had considered using this option before coming to the clinic (36% in McAllen, 25% in Fort Worth, 21% in San Antonio, P = .028). Among those without prior knowledge of self-management, 39% expressed interest in this option instead of coming to the clinic (54% in San Antonio, 30% in McAllen, 29% in Fort Worth, P < .001). Overall, 13% had sought out or tried any method of self-management before presenting to the clinic (16% in McAllen and 15% in Fort Worth vs 9% in San Antonio, P < .001). Experiencing barriers to clinic access was associated with having considered medication self-management (odds ratio, 2.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.7-3.0) and with seeking or trying any method of self-management before attending the clinic (odds ratio, 1.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.3-2.7). Difficulty affording the cost of in-clinic care was the most commonly cited reason for having considering medication self-management before attending the clinic. Reasons for interest in medication self-management as an alternative to clinic care included both access barriers and preferences for the privacy and comfort of home.Considering or attempting self-managed abortion may be part of the pathway to seeking in-clinic care, particularly among those experiencing access barriers. However, considerable interest in medication self-management as an alternative to the clinic also suggests a demand for more autonomous abortion care options.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ajog.2020.02.026

    View details for Web of Science ID 000556986200020

    View details for PubMedID 32142830

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC7395859

  • Demand for Self-Managed Medication Abortion Through an Online Telemedicine Service in the United States AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH Aiken, A. A., Starling, J. E., van der Wal, A., van der Vliet, S., Broussard, K., Johnson, D. M., Padron, E., Gomperts, R., Scott, J. G. 2020; 110 (1): 90-97


    Objectives. To examine demand for abortion medications through an online telemedicine service in the United States.Methods. We examined requests from US residents to the online telemedicine abortion service Women on Web (WoW) between October 15, 2017, and August 15, 2018. We calculated the population-adjusted rate of requests by state and examined the demographics, clinical characteristics, and motivations of those seeking services, comparing those in states with hostile versus supportive abortion policy climates.Results. Over 10 months, WoW received 6022 requests from US residents; 76% from hostile states. Mississippi had the highest rate of requests (24.9 per 100 000 women of reproductive age). In both hostile and supportive states, a majority (60%) reported a combination of barriers to clinic access and preferences for self-management. Cost was the most common barrier (71% in hostile states; 63% in supportive states; P < .001). Privacy was the most common preference (49% in both hostile and supportive states; P = .66).Conclusions. Demand for self-managed medication abortion through online telemedicine is prevalent in the United States. There is a public health justification to make these abortions as safe, effective, and supported as possible.

    View details for DOI 10.2105/AJPH.2019.305369

    View details for Web of Science ID 000500742700040

    View details for PubMedID 31622157

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6893344

  • The impact of Northern Ireland's abortion laws on women's abortion decision-making and experiences BMJ SEXUAL & REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH Aiken, A. A., Padron, E., Broussard, K., Johnson, D. 2019; 45 (1): 3-9


    In Northern Ireland, abortion is illegal except in very limited circumstances to preserve a woman's life or to prevent permanent or long-term injury to her physical or mental health. Abortions conducted outside the law are a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment. We assessed the impacts of Northern Ireland's abortion laws on women's decision-making and experiences in accessing abortion.Between April 2017 and February 2018 we interviewed 30 women living in Northern Ireland who had sought abortion by travelling to a clinic in Great Britain or by using online telemedicine to self-manage a medication abortion at home. We interviewed women both before and after a policy change that allowed women from Northern Ireland access to free abortion services in Great Britain. We used a semi-structured in-depth approach and analysed the interviews using grounded theory methodology to identify key themes.Four key findings emerged from our analysis: (1) women experience multiple barriers to travelling for abortion services, even when abortion is provided without charge; (2) self-management is often preferred over travel, but its criminalisation engenders fear and isolation; (3) obstruction of import of abortion medications by Northern Ireland Customs contributes to stress, anxiety, a higher risk of complications, and trial of ineffective or unsafe methods; and (4) lack of clarity surrounding the obligations of healthcare professionals in Northern Ireland causes mistrust of the healthcare system.Northern Ireland's abortion laws negatively affect the quality and safety of women's healthcare and can have serious implications for women's physical and emotional health. Our findings offer new perspectives for the current policy debate over Northern Ireland's abortion laws and suggest a public health rationale for decriminalising abortion.

    View details for DOI 10.1136/bmjsrh-2018-200198

    View details for Web of Science ID 000458392000001

    View details for PubMedID 30341065

  • Motivations and Experiences of People Seeking Medication Abortion Online in the United States PERSPECTIVES ON SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH Aiken, A. A., Broussard, K., Johnson, D. M., Padron, E. 2018; 50 (4): 157-163


    State legislation restricting access to abortion in the clinic setting raises the possibility that an increasing number of individuals in the United States will self-manage their abortion at home. Medications sourced online represent a potential pathway to abortion self-management. Yet, very little is known about the reasons U.S. residents may seek abortion online or their experiences finding medications and information.In January-June 2017, anonymous in-depth interviews were conducted with 32 people from 20 states who sought abortion medications online (30 women and two men seeking medications for their partners). Participants were asked about their (or their partners') motivations for considering self-managed abortion, the sources of medications they identified and any other methods they considered. Transcripts were coded and analyzed according to the principles of grounded theory.The analysis revealed four key themes: Seeking abortion medications online can be a response to clinic access barriers both in states with and in ones without restrictive abortion laws; self-managed abortion can be a preference over clinical care; online options offer either information or medications, but not both; and the lack of trusted online options can delay care and lead to consideration of ineffective or unsafe alternatives.Current online options for abortion medications leave many important needs unmet, particularly for women who encounter barriers to obtaining clinic-based abortion services. There is a public health justification to reduce clinic access barriers and to make medication abortion that is sourced online and managed at home as safe and supported as possible.

    View details for DOI 10.1363/psrh.12073

    View details for Web of Science ID 000452723600002

    View details for PubMedID 29992793

  • Experiences of women in Ireland who accessed abortion by travelling abroad or by using abortion medication at home: a qualitative study BMJ SEXUAL & REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH Aiken, A. A., Johnson, D. M., Broussard, K., Padron, E. 2018; 44 (3): 181-186