Researchers did this study to identify the barriers and facilitators to accessing first-trimester abortion services for women in the developed world.
The present study is a systematic review of published literature. Researchers searched CINAHL, PubMed, Proquest, MEDLINE, InformIT, Scopus, PsycINFO, and Academic Search Premier for papers written in the English language, from the developed world, including quantitative and qualitative articles published.
The search initially yielded 2511 articles. After screening the title, abstract, and removing duplicates, they reviewed a total of 38 papers. From the women’s perspective, barriers included lack of access to services, staff’s negative attitudes, and the associated costs of the abortion procedure. Service access could be enhanced by increasing training, particularly for mid-level practitioners, by expanding the range of service options, including telehealth; and by creating clear guidelines and referral procedures to alternative providers when the staff has a moral opposition to abortion.
The study concluded that despite fewer legal barriers to accessing abortion services, the evidence from this review suggests that women in developed countries still face significant inequities in terms of the level of quality and access to services as recommended by the World Health Organization.