The COVID-19 pandemic and pandemic response created novel challenges for abortion services. Canada was uniquely positioned to transition to telemedicine because internationally common restrictions on abortion medication were removed before the pandemic. We sought to characterize the experiences of abortion health care professionals in Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of the pandemic response on abortion services. We conducted a sequential mixed methods study between July 2020 and January 2021. We invited physicians, nurse practitioners and administrators to participate in a cross-sectional survey containing an open-ended question about the impact of the pandemic response on abortion care. We employed an inductive codebook thematic analysis, which informed the development of a second, primarily quantitative survey. Our initial survey had 307 respondents and our second had 78. Fifty-three percent were family physicians. Our first survey found respondents considered abortion access essential. We identified three key topicss: access to abortion care was often maintained despite pandemic-related challenges (e.g. difficulty obtaining tests, additional costs); change of practice to low-touch medication abortion care and provider perceptions of patient experience, including shifting demand, telemedicine acceptability and increased rural access. The second survey indicated uptake of telemedicine medication abortion among 89% of participants except in Quebec, where regulations meant procedures were nearly exclusively surgical.

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