Published in Qualitative Health Research


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.