Ensuring access to safe, legal abortion in an increasingly complex regulatory environment

Paul M

Norton M

Obstetrics & Gynecology
Jul 2016


Restrictions on access to abortion in the United States have reached proportions unprecedented since the nationwide legalization of abortion in 1973. Although some restrictions aim to discourage women from having abortions, many others impede access by affecting the timeliness, affordability, or availability of services. Evidence indicates that these restrictions do not increase abortion safety; rather, they create logistic barriers for women seeking abortion, and they have the greatest effect on women with the fewest resources. In this commentary, we recall the important role that obstetrician-gynecologists (ob-gyns) have played, both before and after Roe v. Wade, in facilitating access to safe abortion care. Using the literature on abortion safety and access as a foundation, we propose several practical ideas about what we as ob-gyns can do to address the current threat to abortion access, whether or not we provide abortion services in practice. We hope that this commentary will encourage discourse within our profession and prompt other suggestions. As ob-gyns who are dedicated to addressing health disparities and promoting the health and well-being of our patients, we can make a difference.


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