Abortion providers’ experiences with and management of stigmatization in freestanding and hospital-based clinics
Awarded 2015
Trainee Grants
Molly Murphy, MPH
University of Illinois, Chicago

Objectives: This study explored the meaning of abortion work to providers, how providers experience and manage stigmatization of their work, and how these experiences and stigma management strategies differ across providers by clinic type, clinic, work role and individuals. Methods: Data were collected through qualitative observation of clinic settings, in-depth interviews with providers, and quantitative assessments of abortion providers’ stigmatization experiences. The final sample (n=31) was comprised of abortion providers in a variety of work roles from 2 freestanding and 2 hospital-based clinics. Qualitative data underwent a content analysis. Quantitative data are yet to be analyzed. Results: The meaning of abortion work to providers differed along emergent groups of “advocate” providers and “utilitarian” providers. Both groups expressed extreme pride in their work, but the aspects of their work that were most important to them differed along group type lines. “Advocate” types were more likely to derive meaning from the aspects of their work that specifically involve abortion, while “utilitarian” types were less motivated by abortion, specifically, and more satisfied by patient care, in general. Providers in freestanding clinics were more likely to be stigmatized outside the clinic than were providers in hospital- based settings, but in 3 of the 4 clinics in the study, within-group stigmatization inside each clinic was salient and manifested differently in each clinic work group. Conclusions: Access to networks of abortion-providing colleagues, trainings for a variety of abortion-providing work, and values clarification or other ways to communicate effectively with coworkers may help providers navigate within-group stigmatization.