Women’s and providers’ experiences of second-trimester abortion in the Heartland
Awarded 2012
Large Research Grants
Kelly Blanchard, MSc
Ibis Reproductive Health

Objectives: In the US, the proportion of abortions taking place during the second trimester has consistently remained around 10%. There is little information on women’s experiences with second-trimester abortion care, or abortion providers’ experiences with offering second-trimester abortion care. We aimed to collect detailed data on women’s and providers’ experiences with second-trimester abortion and to identify strategies to improve services for women and support providers to offer second-trimester services. Methods: This multi-method study included in-depth interviews with 16 abortion providers and with eight women who received a second-trimester abortion, as well as a survey with 108 women who received a second-trimester abortion. All qualitative data was analyzed using framework analysis methods in ATLAS.TI. All survey data was analyzed in SPSS; we summarized the data using descriptive statistics. Results: Providers of second-trimester abortion reported a dedication to patient-centered, non-judgmental care, which motivated them to provide abortion care despite stigma from friends, family, clinic protestors, and others in their communities. Women who received a second-trimester abortion reported receiving extremely high-quality care and feeling supported by clinic staff, but also suggested some areas of improvement such as better pain management and shorter wait times. Women also reported mixed knowledge and opinions of abortion restrictions. Conclusion: Our results highlight the need to identify innovative ways to support providers of second-trimester abortion to ensure ongoing access to second-trimester abortion services. Future research should target strategies to remove barriers to women’s access to second-trimester abortion services, and to improve certain aspects of their second-trimester abortion experiences.