Background: A rapid increase in legislation restricting access to clinical abortion services in the US has sparked renewed interest in self-managed abortion as a response to clinic access barriers. At the same time, rising interest in self-care and the role of the internet as a go-to source of goods and services raises the possibility that self-managed medication abortion may also be a preference over clinical services. Methods: Through five specific aims fulfilled by an innovative mixed-methods research design, our three-year project seeks to provide a contemporary portrait of the “who, what, and why” of interest in self-managed medication abortion in the US. Targeting key gaps in current knowledge, we focus on: 1) the reasons why people consider medication self-management; 2) variation in knowledge, perspectives, and interest in medication self-management by geographical, policy, and sociodemographic context; and 3) interest in medication self-management via the internet.
Proposed analysis: This major project leverages partnerships with clinical abortion providers in communities across the US, an online abortion telemedicine service that regularly receives requests from US residents, and advocates engaged in public education, community activism, and legislative outreach. By significantly advancing current knowledge of self-managed medication abortion in the US, the expected outcomes of the project are to: 1) equip clinicians with the tools to reduce the risks that may accompany medication self-management and to improve clinical service delivery; 2) inform the public conversation around medication self-management; and 3) produce an evidence base that can influence policy conversations about self-managed medication abortion in a positive and constructive way.