Self-induction of abortion among women in the United States

Daniel Grossman, Kelsey Holt, Melanie Peña, Diana Lara, Maggie Veatch, Denisse Córdova, Marji Gold, Beverly Winikoff, Kelly Blanchard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Recent media coverage and case reports have highlighted women's attempts to end their pregnancies by self-inducing abortions in the United States. This study explored women's motivations for attempting self-induction of abortion. We surveyed women in clinic waiting rooms in Boston, San Francisco, New York, and a city in Texas to identify women who had attempted self-induction. We conducted 30 in-depth interviews and inductively analyzed the data. Median age at time of self-induction attempt was 19 years. Between 1979 and 2008, the women used a variety of methods, including medications, malta beverage, herbs, physical manipulation and, increasingly, misoprostol. Reasons to self-induce included a desire to avoid abortion clinics, obstacles to accessing clinical services, especially due to young age and financial barriers, and a preference for self-induction. The methods used were generally readily accessible but mostly ineffective and occasionally unsafe. Of the 23 with confirmed pregnancies, three reported a successful abortion not requiring clinical care. Only one reported medical complications in the United States. Most would not self-induce again and recommended clinic-based services. Efforts should be made to inform women about and improve access to clinic-based abortion services, particularly for medical abortion, which may appeal to women who are drawn to self-induction because it is natural, non-invasive and private.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-146
Number of pages11
JournalReproductive Health Matters
Volume18
Issue number36
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2010

Fingerprint

Ambulatory Care Facilities
Malta
Misoprostol
Pregnancy
San Francisco
Beverages
Interviews

Keywords

  • Adolescents and young people
  • Medical abortion
  • Misoprostol
  • Self-induced abortion
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine

Cite this

Grossman, D., Holt, K., Peña, M., Lara, D., Veatch, M., Córdova, D., ... Blanchard, K. (2010). Self-induction of abortion among women in the United States. Reproductive Health Matters, 18(36), 136-146. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0968-8080(10)36534-7

Self-induction of abortion among women in the United States. / Grossman, Daniel; Holt, Kelsey; Peña, Melanie; Lara, Diana; Veatch, Maggie; Córdova, Denisse; Gold, Marji; Winikoff, Beverly; Blanchard, Kelly.

In: Reproductive Health Matters, Vol. 18, No. 36, 11.2010, p. 136-146.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Grossman, D, Holt, K, Peña, M, Lara, D, Veatch, M, Córdova, D, Gold, M, Winikoff, B & Blanchard, K 2010, 'Self-induction of abortion among women in the United States', Reproductive Health Matters, vol. 18, no. 36, pp. 136-146. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0968-8080(10)36534-7
Grossman D, Holt K, Peña M, Lara D, Veatch M, Córdova D et al. Self-induction of abortion among women in the United States. Reproductive Health Matters. 2010 Nov;18(36):136-146. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0968-8080(10)36534-7
Grossman, Daniel ; Holt, Kelsey ; Peña, Melanie ; Lara, Diana ; Veatch, Maggie ; Córdova, Denisse ; Gold, Marji ; Winikoff, Beverly ; Blanchard, Kelly. / Self-induction of abortion among women in the United States. In: Reproductive Health Matters. 2010 ; Vol. 18, No. 36. pp. 136-146.
@article{62e3015b4c814abaaa2ea7882940734d,
title = "Self-induction of abortion among women in the United States",
abstract = "Recent media coverage and case reports have highlighted women's attempts to end their pregnancies by self-inducing abortions in the United States. This study explored women's motivations for attempting self-induction of abortion. We surveyed women in clinic waiting rooms in Boston, San Francisco, New York, and a city in Texas to identify women who had attempted self-induction. We conducted 30 in-depth interviews and inductively analyzed the data. Median age at time of self-induction attempt was 19 years. Between 1979 and 2008, the women used a variety of methods, including medications, malta beverage, herbs, physical manipulation and, increasingly, misoprostol. Reasons to self-induce included a desire to avoid abortion clinics, obstacles to accessing clinical services, especially due to young age and financial barriers, and a preference for self-induction. The methods used were generally readily accessible but mostly ineffective and occasionally unsafe. Of the 23 with confirmed pregnancies, three reported a successful abortion not requiring clinical care. Only one reported medical complications in the United States. Most would not self-induce again and recommended clinic-based services. Efforts should be made to inform women about and improve access to clinic-based abortion services, particularly for medical abortion, which may appeal to women who are drawn to self-induction because it is natural, non-invasive and private.",
keywords = "Adolescents and young people, Medical abortion, Misoprostol, Self-induced abortion, United States",
author = "Daniel Grossman and Kelsey Holt and Melanie Pe{\~n}a and Diana Lara and Maggie Veatch and Denisse C{\'o}rdova and Marji Gold and Beverly Winikoff and Kelly Blanchard",
year = "2010",
month = "11",
doi = "10.1016/S0968-8080(10)36534-7",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "18",
pages = "136--146",
journal = "Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters",
issn = "0968-8080",
publisher = "Taylor and Francis Ltd.",
number = "36",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Self-induction of abortion among women in the United States

AU - Grossman, Daniel

AU - Holt, Kelsey

AU - Peña, Melanie

AU - Lara, Diana

AU - Veatch, Maggie

AU - Córdova, Denisse

AU - Gold, Marji

AU - Winikoff, Beverly

AU - Blanchard, Kelly

PY - 2010/11

Y1 - 2010/11

N2 - Recent media coverage and case reports have highlighted women's attempts to end their pregnancies by self-inducing abortions in the United States. This study explored women's motivations for attempting self-induction of abortion. We surveyed women in clinic waiting rooms in Boston, San Francisco, New York, and a city in Texas to identify women who had attempted self-induction. We conducted 30 in-depth interviews and inductively analyzed the data. Median age at time of self-induction attempt was 19 years. Between 1979 and 2008, the women used a variety of methods, including medications, malta beverage, herbs, physical manipulation and, increasingly, misoprostol. Reasons to self-induce included a desire to avoid abortion clinics, obstacles to accessing clinical services, especially due to young age and financial barriers, and a preference for self-induction. The methods used were generally readily accessible but mostly ineffective and occasionally unsafe. Of the 23 with confirmed pregnancies, three reported a successful abortion not requiring clinical care. Only one reported medical complications in the United States. Most would not self-induce again and recommended clinic-based services. Efforts should be made to inform women about and improve access to clinic-based abortion services, particularly for medical abortion, which may appeal to women who are drawn to self-induction because it is natural, non-invasive and private.

AB - Recent media coverage and case reports have highlighted women's attempts to end their pregnancies by self-inducing abortions in the United States. This study explored women's motivations for attempting self-induction of abortion. We surveyed women in clinic waiting rooms in Boston, San Francisco, New York, and a city in Texas to identify women who had attempted self-induction. We conducted 30 in-depth interviews and inductively analyzed the data. Median age at time of self-induction attempt was 19 years. Between 1979 and 2008, the women used a variety of methods, including medications, malta beverage, herbs, physical manipulation and, increasingly, misoprostol. Reasons to self-induce included a desire to avoid abortion clinics, obstacles to accessing clinical services, especially due to young age and financial barriers, and a preference for self-induction. The methods used were generally readily accessible but mostly ineffective and occasionally unsafe. Of the 23 with confirmed pregnancies, three reported a successful abortion not requiring clinical care. Only one reported medical complications in the United States. Most would not self-induce again and recommended clinic-based services. Efforts should be made to inform women about and improve access to clinic-based abortion services, particularly for medical abortion, which may appeal to women who are drawn to self-induction because it is natural, non-invasive and private.

KW - Adolescents and young people

KW - Medical abortion

KW - Misoprostol

KW - Self-induced abortion

KW - United States

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=78649406517&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=78649406517&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/S0968-8080(10)36534-7

DO - 10.1016/S0968-8080(10)36534-7

M3 - Article

VL - 18

SP - 136

EP - 146

JO - Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters

JF - Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters

SN - 0968-8080

IS - 36

ER -