Challenges and strategies for contraceptive care in independent abortion clinics in the United States, 2017

Jenna Jerman Amanda Berry Megan L. Kavanaugh, Guttmacher Institute

First published on Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare:

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Abstract / Summary
Many patients may wish to receive contraceptive counseling and services during an abortion visit, but a 2009 study documented challenges faced by abortion clinics, especially independent ones, in providing contraceptive care. Since then, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has made contraception more accessible by expanding coverage to millions of individuals and by eliminating out of pocket costs. This paper aims to update this previous work and describe recent challenges in providing contraceptive care in independent abortion settings following the ACA, as well as the strategies used to address these challenges.
We conducted two focus groups and 19 semi-structured interviews with clinic administrators and directors at independent abortion clinics.
Challenges to providing contraceptive care in independent abortion clinics included navigating new guidelines under the Affordable Care Act for establishing coverage agreements with health insurance plans and receiving timely and sufficient reimbursement for services provided. Study respondents described strategies related to adjusting clinic flow and protocols to address patient needs regarding receiving contraception during abortion care.
Staff working in independent abortion clinics in the United States experience a tension between trying to provide holistic, patient-centered care – including contraceptive care – and navigating restrictive political and healthcare contexts for the delivery of abortion care.