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Research project

Responding to Crisis: Abortion Providers and Current Restrictions on Abortion Care

Since 2010, restrictions passed by state legislatures may have affected millions of women and caused at least 70 abortion providing facilities to close. ANSIRH’s Evaluation of Abortion Restrictions project is examining how abortion laws affect women’s access to and experience with abortion. With funding from the Society of Family Planning, Sociologist Dr. Carole Joffe is also examining how abortion providers in the most impacted states are responding to the numerous restrictions. 

For purposes of this study, Dr. Carole Joffe defines clinic directors as “abortion providers,” rather than the clinicians directly involved in performing abortions, as the former are the ones most directly charged with complying with new laws and regulations.  Dr. Joffe interviewed 19 abortion providers from nine highly impacted states over a two-year period, at this particularly consequential moment in abortion care. Dr. Joffe conducted focus groups, group interviews with clinic staff in some states, and a number of individual, in-person and phone interviews.

Abortion providers were questioned about such matters as:

  • strategies of compliance with onerous restrictions, particularly the physical upgrades demanded by “ambulatory surgery center” regulations;  
  • the impact of these restrictions on the quality of care offered to their patients, e.g. the loss of more intimate connections with patients because of the demands that clinics conform to the sterility requirements in hospital operating rooms, and; 
  • the impact on lower level staff’s and their own morale as a result of this often quite hostile regulatory environment.

Several articles from this research are currently in preparation. A preliminary report of some of the key findings of this research can be found at in a blog post titled “The Hidden Costs of Abortion Restrictions.”

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ANSIRH is a program within the UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health and is a part of UCSF's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences.

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