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P004“Unmet need for abortion”: Conceptualization, relevance, and utility as a tool for meeting abortion needs in the us

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      Objectives

      To present a nuanced and critical analysis of unmet need for abortion, including its conceptualization and utility for the abortion rights movement.

      Methods

      We conducted 30 in-depth interviews with stakeholders in abortion access in the US, including people working in direct service, research, advocacy, abortion funds, reproductive justice organizations, and philanthropy.

      Results

      Stakeholders conceptualized unmet need for abortion in two ways: outcome-based unmet need, with need defined as obtaining an abortion; and process-based unmet need, in which need is additionally defined in terms of the experience of getting an abortion, including navigation of obstacles, preferences in method and setting, and quality of care. Stakeholders identified potential benefits and harms of using unmet need for abortion as a tool to frame and measure problems with abortion access. As a tool, unmet need for abortion could draw necessary attention to crises in abortion access. However, benefits were counterbalanced by concerns — that the tool could be misused, the limits of quantification are too costly, and it would further disconnect abortion from the broader fight for reproductive justice.

      Conclusions

      Unmet need for abortion is a complex concept that has potential benefits and harms as a tool to document and improve abortion access.
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