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Sexual and reproductive health clinical consultations: abortion in non-specialist community-based clinics
  1. Corrina Horan1,2,
  2. Pollyanna Cohen2,3,
  3. Jayne Kavanagh4
  1. 1 Community Sexual and Reproductive Health, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  2. 2 EGA Institute for Women's Health, University College London, London, UK
  3. 3 Community Sexual and Reproductive Health, Central North West Thames NHS Trust, London, UK
  4. 4 UCL Medical School, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Corrina Horan, Community Sexual and Reproductive Health, Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Homerton Row, London E9 6SR, UK; corrina.horan{at}

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Sam, aged 31, attends her local sexual health clinic requesting a pregnancy test after a split condom with her regular partner 4 weeks ago. She took oral emergency contraception the following morning. However, she has not had a period for 6 weeks and her breasts are more tender than usual. Her menstrual cycle is usually regular and monthly.

Before the pregnancy test, the healthcare provider (HCP) asks Sam how she would feel if the test is positive. Sam says she would be upset as she does not want to be pregnant.

The pregnancy test is positive. Sam is tearful and says she would like an abortion. The HCP explains how Sam can access an abortion and gives her the telephone number to ring to arrange an appointment with the local abortion service.

The HCP asks Sam if she has any questions about the appointment or abortion in general. Sam asks what will happen at her appointment with the abortion service and says she would like to know more about the types of abortion available and which one the HCP would recommend. The HCP explains what the appointment will entail, gives a brief outline of what having a medical or surgical abortion involves (table 1), and advises Sam to choose the method she thinks will be best for her.

View this table:
Table 1

Outline of medical and surgical abortions at <12 weeks of pregnancy

The HCP asks …

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  • Twitter @CorrinaHoran

  • Contributors CH drafted the first version of the article, based on JK’s teaching resources on abortion consultations. JK improved the structure of the article and collated feedback. JK and CH finalised the article. PC critically reviewed and improved the article.

  • 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 JK is an Associate Editor for BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health.

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