Barriers to and Enablers of Abortion Provision for Family Physicians Trained in Abortion During Residency

Aleza K. Summit, Ian Lague, Miranda Dettmann, Marji Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


CONTEXT: Although some family medicine residency programs include routine opt-out training in early abortion, little is known about abortion provision by trainees after residency graduation. A better understanding of the barriers to and enablers of abortion provision by trained family physicians could improve residency training and shape other interventions to increase abortion provision and access. METHODS: Twenty-eight U.S. family physicians who had received abortion training during residency were interviewed in 2017, between two and seven years after residency graduation. The doctors, identified using databases of abortion-trained physicians maintained by residency programs, were recruited by e-mail. In phone interviews, they described their postresidency abortion provision experiences. All interviews were transcribed, coded and analyzed using Dedoose, and a social-ecological framework was employed to guide investigation and analysis. RESULTS: Although many of the physicians were motivated to provide abortion care, only a minority did so. Barriers to and enablers of abortion provision were found on all levels of the social-ecological model—legal, institutional, social and individual—and included state-specific laws and restrictions on federal funding; religious affiliation or policies prohibiting abortion within particular health systems; mentorship, colleagues’ support and the stigma of being an abortion provider; and geographic location, time management and individuals’ prioritization of abortion provision. CONCLUSIONS: Clinical training alone may not be sufficient for family medicine physicians to overcome the barriers to postresidency abortion provision. To increase abortion provision and access, organizations and advocates should work to strengthen enablers of provision, such as strong mentorship and support networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-159
Number of pages9
JournalPerspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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