Post-Dobbs experiences of ectopic pregnancy among people seeking telehealth abortion care
Awarded 2023
High-risk pregnancy care, post-Dobbs
M. Antonia Biggs, PhD
University of California, San Francisco

No-test telehealth abortion care is safe, acceptable, and effective and is one of the few options available for people living in states that ban abortion. Ectopic pregnancy remains a primary source of concern for the telehealth model. Yet, we lack evidence around how ectopics are diagnosed and treated in the no-test telehealth context. We will describe the clinical presentation, outcomes, and experiences of people seeking telehealth medication abortion who are subsequently suspected or confirmed to have had an ectopic pregnancy, including the challenges experienced among people living in states that ban abortion. Building on the Pilot Ectopic Pregnancy Telehealth Abortion study (n=15 interviews) conducted just before and after Dobbs, we will collaborate with six or more telehealth abortion clinics and interview an additional 25 patients with a suspected or confirmed ectopic pregnancy (for a total N=40, ~14 from states that heavily restrict access to abortion). Interviews will explore topics related to participants’ pregnancy symptoms, healthcare interactions, ectopic pregnancy care trajectories, factors that facilitated, hindered, or delayed patients’ ectopic pregnancy treatment, and explore the impact of abortion bans on people’s pregnancy decision-making and psychological and emotional well-being. We will use an iterative grounded theory approach to analyze interview transcripts and identify salient themes. Findings will document the impact of abortion bans on people’s experiences seeking ectopic pregnancy care, including their clinical presentation, outcomes, and care trajectories, and inform strategies to facilitate early detection and treatment of ectopic pregnancy among telehealth abortion patients.