The women who serve: A qualitative, descriptive study of abortion doulas
Awarded 2014
Complex Family Planning Fellowship Research
Natalie Whaley, MD, MPH
Johns Hopkins University

The primary purpose of this qualitative study will be to describe the professional identity of abortion doulas by investigating their experiences and perspectives as they relate to their role in abortion care. Additional aims will be to explore the motivation and training experiences of abortion doulas, to describe the relationships with patients and the healthcare team from the perspective of abortion doulas and to gain insight into the process by which abortion doulas gain experience, confidence and self-efficacy in their skills as abortion doulas. Examining and describing the perspectives of these advocates for reproductive choice has the potential to explore the ways that the social movement of abortion doulas aligns itself to counter abortion stigma. The proposed study will use qualitative interviews with practicing abortion doulas. The study will have two arms. One arm will entail semi-structured interviews with abortion doulas already practicing across various regions in the United States. The second arm will involve serial interviews with new abortion doulas practicing in Baltimore. The single interview arm will aim to explore the overall experiences and perspectives of abortion doulas and we aim to recruit approximately 30 study subjects. The serial interview arm will aim to describe the evolution and changes in perspective as new abortion doulas gain experience. Standardized open-ended interviews will be performed with individual doulas with qualitative data analysis performed using grounded theory.