Original research article| Volume 67, ISSUE 4, P287-294, April 2003

Early abortion services in the United States: a provider survey


      The objective of this study was to describe the availability of early surgical and medical abortion among members of the National Abortion Federation (NAF) and to identify factors affecting the integration of early abortion services into current services. Telephone interviews were conducted with staff at 113 Planned Parenthood affiliates and independent abortion providers between February and April 2000, prior to FDA approval of mifepristone. Early abortion services were available at 59% of sites, and establishing services was less difficult than or about what was anticipated. Sites generally found it easier to begin offering early surgical abortion than early medical abortion. Physician participation was found to be critical to implementing early services. At sites where some but not all providers offered early abortion, variations in service availability resulted. Given the option of reconsidering early services, virtually all sites would make the same decision again. These data suggest that developing mentoring relationships between experienced early abortion providers/sites and those not offering early services, and training physicians and other staff, are likely to be effective approaches to expanding service availability.


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