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Understanding the experiences and needs of LGBTIQA+ individuals when accessing abortion care and pregnancy options counselling: a scoping review
  1. Sally Bowler1,
  2. Kari Vallury2,
  3. Ernesta Sofija1
  1. 1 School of Medicine and Dentistry, Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland, Australia
  2. 2 Children By Choice, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Sally Bowler; sallylouisebowler{at}


Background Safe, accessible, and inclusive abortion care and pregnancy options counselling are essential components of sexual and reproductive health and rights. Research has documented LGBTIQA+ people are as likely, or more than likely, as the general population to experience an abortion in their lifetime yet face significant barriers to accessing abortion and related care, which undermines well-being.

Aims The present study undertakes a scoping review of research on the needs and experiences of the LGBTIQA+ population (representing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender diverse, intersex, queer, asexual, and questioning) when accessing abortion care, pregnancy options, and post-abortion counselling to support improved understanding of pregnant people’s preferences, needs, and experiences.

Methods The reporting of this scoping review is guided by the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension of Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR). Academic databases were searched using terms relating to gender identity and sexuality, abortion, pregnancy options, and post-abortion counselling to identify peer reviewed papers published in English. Seven publications were included in the review that described experiences of LGBTIQA+ people accessing abortion-related care.

Results The included studies were predominantly conducted in the USA using quantitative and qualitative research designs. Thematic analysis highlighted participants’ experiences of discrimination and exclusion in healthcare settings, healthcare avoidance, unsafe abortion, non-disclosure to providers, and poor health outcomes for LGBTIQA+ people.

Conclusions Gender-inclusive services and training for health providers is necessary to provide safe and accessible abortion care and overcome generations of mistrust held by the LGBTIQA+ community. Research into the needs of LGBTIQA+ people when accessing pregnancy options counselling is critically needed.

  • counselling
  • Reproductive Rights
  • Reproductive Health Services
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Abortion, Therapeutic
  • Abortion, Spontaneous

Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Not applicable.

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Data availability statement

All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Not applicable.

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  • Contributors SB is the guarantor of this paper and responsible for the overall content. Under the guidance and instruction of KV and ES, SB conceptualised and conducted the initial literature search. KV and SB jointly screened the search results and conducted the data extraction and thematic analysis of findings. KV and ES provided editorial support and feedback to SB throughout the write up of the paper. SB and KV jointly edited the paper to incorporate the peer reviewers’ feedback, with approval and supervision from ES.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.