Disparities in abortion complications
Awarded 2021
Complex Family Planning Fellowship Research
Charita Roque, MD, MPH
Johns Hopkins University

Racial inequities in maternal health, although present over centuries, have worsened in the last several decades. Despite growing interest in racial disparities in maternal health, little research has examined disparities in abortion practice specifically. One of the challenges of tracking abortion complications is the overall low complication rate. Cited complication rates of surgical abortions range from 0.002-4% depending on the gestational age, protocols, and time of follow up. The low incidence of complications and the lack of a national database pooling data can lead to difficulty in detecting commonalities among surgical complications. The objective of this study is to quantify disparities in abortion complication rates at two institutions through a retrospective cohort study. Complications will be defined as major (unplanned surgical procedure, hospital admission, blood transfusion, uterine perforation) and minor (cervical laceration, estimated blood loss over 500 cc, pelvic infection) and will be reported as individual and composite outcomes. We will conduct univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analyses and chi-square tests to assess unadjusted and adjusted relationships between our outcomes of interest and each of the independent and confounding variables. With this study, we seek to learn more about disparities in care with the understanding that race alone does not explain differences.