Women’s experiences of accessing a medical termination of pregnancy through a Queensland regional sexual health service: a qualitative study

Cashman, Colette, Downing, Sandra G., and Russell, Darren (2021) Women’s experiences of accessing a medical termination of pregnancy through a Queensland regional sexual health service: a qualitative study. Sexual Health, 18 (3). pp. 232-238.

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Abstract

Background: An estimated 25% of Australian women will undergo induced abortion. Few studies have explored Australian women’s experiences of accessing medical termination of pregnancy (MToP). This study explored the experiences of women accessing MToP through a regional sexual health service in North Queensland. It aimed to determine the aspects of the process from seeking information about abortion to completion that worked well and to identify areas for improvement.

Methods. Semi-structured telephone interviews with 11 women who accessed MTOP at Cairns Sexual Health Service (CSHS) were conducted. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. A deductive analysis approach was used to analyse the data.

Results. Most women had little prior knowledge of MToP or access options and used the Internet to source information. Accessing MToP through a sexual health service was considered positive, non-judgemental, discrete and low-cost despite challenges of fitting in with appointment times and obtaining off-site ultrasound. GPs did not always provide referral; some women described experiences of stigma, discrimination and judgemental care during consultation and when obtaining ultrasounds. Concern for women living in more rural/remote areas was raised. Potential solutions including increased provision through rural general practitioners (GPs) and telehealth.

Conclusion. Our study highlights the need for greater awareness of abortion options and access points among the community and healthcare providers. Access through sexual health clinics in regional settings is accepted; however, other options such as increased provision through rural GPs, primary health clinics, telehealth and nurse-led models of care could help overcome some of the barriers faced by rural and remote women.

Item ID: 68837
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1449-8987
Keywords: abortion access, Australia, health-care access, medical abortion, primary care, primary health care, reproductive health, service delivery
Copyright Information: © CSIRO 2021
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2021 02:42
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420319 Primary health care @ 100%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2003 Provision of health and support services > 200310 Primary care @ 100%
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