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P024“Doulas do need to be there to support if they choose to have an abortion”: Family planning attitudes and stigma among doulas in georgia

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      Objectives

      This community-engaged study examines abortion and family planning doula services, attitudes toward these services, abortion stigma faced by abortion doulas, and doulas’ recommendations to improve access to care.

      Methods

      From October 2020 to February 2022, academic researchers and a community-based maternal-child health organization conducted a cross-sectional, mixed-methods study with full-spectrum doulas in Georgia, where maternal mortality is high but abortion and contraceptive access are restricted. We interviewed and surveyed 20 doulas about their scope of abortion and contraceptive care, their personal attitudes toward family planning, and experiences with abortion stigma.

      Results

      Our sample was diverse by race/ethnicity (45% Black/African American, 40% White, 5% Latinx, 10% other) and services provided (85% birth, 60% postpartum, 40% full-spectrum, 35% abortion, 45% family planning). Participants reported positive attitudes toward abortion and contraception (Stigmatizing Attitudes and Beliefs=22.29 on an 18–40 scale; adapted Sexual and Reproductive Health Stigma Scale=8.6 on a 6–13 scale). Among abortion doulas, abortion provider stigma was moderate to high (average Abortion Provider Stigma Survey (APSS) score=24 on a 17–27 scale), and resilience was moderate (average resilience score=7 on a 4–11 scale).

      Conclusions

      This study contributes two main findings: first, family planning and abortion care training are needed and desired by doulas of all kinds. Second, abortion stigma is being experienced by abortion doulas. As contraceptive and abortion care is further restricted, doulas may serve as a vital link to family planning services. Increasing doulas’ capacity to provide contraceptive counseling and abortion care is feasible and imperative.
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