Although some women may desire the involvement of their partners when obtaining abortion care, male partners are not routinely included in the abortion process. A review of the literature on how male involvement relates to women's abortion experiences may help guide facilities that are considering incorporating male partners in abortion care.
PubMed, PsycINFO (Ovid), the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, the Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature database, and the Cochrane Library were systematically searched without restrictions through September 23, 2015, to identify qualitative and quantitative primary studies investigating male partner accompaniment during the abortion process in noncoercive situations. Analysis focused on identifying different types of male involvement and their associations with women's abortion experiences.
Some 1,316 unique articles were reviewed; 15 were analyzed. These studies were conducted in six countries and published between 1985 and 2012, primarily with observational designs. Four types of male partner involvement emerged: presence in the medical facility, participation in preabortion counseling, presence in the room during the surgical abortion procedure or while the woman is experiencing the effects of abortifacient medications, and participation in postabortion care. Studies explored relationships between type of involvement and women's access to abortion care and their emotional and physical well-being. Most findings suggested that male involvement was positively associated with women's well-being and their assessment of the experience; no negative associations were found.
In noncoercive circumstances, women who include their male partners in the abortion process may find this involvement beneficial.