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P032Covid-19 abortion experiences on reddit: A qualitative study

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      Objectives

      We sought to document the effects of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on people seeking abortion by analyzing posts on Reddit, a popular social media website.

      Methods

      We compiled 528 anonymous posts on the abortion subreddit from March 20, 2020 to April 12, 2020 and applied deductive qualitative methods to identify codes and themes.

      Results

      In the first of four themes, posters reported several COVID-19-related barriers to abortion services: reduced in-person access due to clinic closures, mail delivery delays of self-managed medication abortion, and pandemic-related financial barriers to both self-managed and in-clinic abortion. The second theme encompassed quarantine-driven privacy challenges, primarily challenges with concealing an abortion from household members. Third, posters detailed how the pandemic constrained their pregnancy decision making, including time pressure from impending clinic closures. Finally, posters reported COVID-19-related changes to service delivery that negatively affected their abortion experiences — for example, being unable to bring a support person into the clinic due to pandemic visitor restrictions.

      Conclusions

      This analysis of real-time social media posts reveals multiple ways that the COVID-19 pandemic limited people's abortion access and affected their termination decisions and experiences. Findings shed light on the consequences of sudden changes, whether pandemic- or policy-related, on abortion service delivery.