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Current barriers, facilitators and future improvements to advance quality of abortion care: views of women


Background Barriers to accessing abortion care continue to exist even in settings where abortion is legal. We aimed to determine current barriers faced by women seeking abortion, factors that facilitate access to care, and what future improvements women would like made to abortion care in Scotland.

Methods A self-administered anonymous questionnaire of women requesting abortion care at a community abortion service in Edinburgh. Women selected the top three options from predefined lists of barriers to seeking abortion, facilitators of care, and future service improvements.

Results 154/165 (93%) questionnaires were completed by women presenting for abortion. The most commonly ranked number one barrier to seeking an abortion (n = 49; 32%) was ‘being scared about what the abortion process involved’. The highest ranked facilitator of care was information provided to women via the abortion clinic website. The most commonly chosen number one response for potential improvement to abortion services was the option to get an early medical abortion from a general practitioner, which was chosen by 70 (45%) women.

Conclusions This study suggests that lack of knowledge and information surrounding the abortion process and the ease with which women can receive abortion care are areas of concern. Efforts are needed to reduce waiting times, to ensure that high-quality, standardised information is widely and publicly available regarding what women can expect during the abortion process, and to expand provision of early medical abortion within the community, in order to improve abortion care.

  • abortion
  • EMA
  • medical abortion
  • mifepristone
  • misoprostol
  • women views
  • quality of abortion service
  • stigma
  • termination of pregnancy
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