Editors: Suzan Goodman MD, MPH, Gabriel Flaxman MD
It is valuable to identify and understand the life experiences that have affected your opinions in order to promote a non-judgmental climate for patient care.
When counseling about pregnancy or contraceptive options, use a non-directive approach with active listening, open-ended questions, and accurate information.
Abortion is safe, and access to legal abortion is associated with significant reductions in maternal morbidity and mortality (Upadhyay 2015, White 2015).
Patients who received an abortion were not at risk for mental health problems, and were at no higher risk of PTSD than women denied an abortion (Biggs 2016, Cohen 2013).
Providers face security risks in some settings. Safety may be enhanced by remaining alert and avoiding wearing a white coat or scrubs outside the clinic.
Abortion is common; it is the most common outpatient procedure performed among women. One in 3 U.S. women will have an abortion in her lifetime.
Nearly half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, and nearly all unsafe abortions (98%) occur in developing countries.
Given high rates of unintended pregnancy, abortion, and early pregnancy loss in the U.S., most health care providers will interact with patients navigating these issues.
Restrictive state laws being implemented at a rapid rate across the country create harmful obstacles to care, increase gestational age at which patients obtain abortions, increase disparity in access, and do not lower abortion rates.
Reproductive health access and training are becoming limited due to hospital mergers, religious restrictions at training sites, and lack of transparency for patients and trainees.
The 89% of U.S. counties without an abortion provider are home to 38% of reproductive-aged women.
By providing high-quality pregnancy options counseling and either family planning services or timely referrals, you improve the access and quality of care patients receive.
If you do not provide abortion services directly, it is important to know how to refer patients and handle follow-up issues in your community.