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New Research! Support Family Physicians – Expand Access to Abortion Care

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We’re excited to share that findings from our annual five-year follow-up survey of family medicine residents trained in abortion care have just been published in the journal Contraception! We explored whether residents who had intended to provide abortion after residency actually went on to offer abortion care five years after graduating.

Here are our key findings:

  • Those who intend to provide abortion after residency are four times more likely to provide medication abortion and/or surgical abortion than those who did not intend to provide.
  • Most who provide surgical abortion did so in abortion/family planning clinics, or in sites that had already established routine abortion care.
  • For those who had intended to provide but are not providing, the most common challenges to offering abortion were systematic and administrative barriers, rather than personal beliefs or safety factors. Frequently mentioned barriers included resistance from the practice setting’s administration, lack of support from clinical and support staff, and difficulties obtaining equipment and supplies.
  • While strengthening residents’ clinical skills and intentions to provide abortion is important, it isn’t sufficient to facilitate their provision of abortion care, especially in primary care settings. Integrating abortion into primary care settings requires more than clinical training and individual motivation.
  • Offering longitudinal support to motivated family physicians to address systems-level barriers to integrating abortion may contribute toward expanding access and availability of abortion care.

This research highlights why RHAP’s work to make reproductive health care accessible to everyone is so important. These findings demonstrate the need to expand post-residency programs for family physicians that involve both clinical training and skills development to negotiate practice change in primary care settings, like RHAP’s Reproductive Health Care and Advocacy Fellowship and Miscarriage Care Initiative. You can access the article on our website.

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