"We've got rights and yet we don't have access": exploring patient experiences accessing medication abortion in Australia

Kathryn J. LaRoche, L. L. Wynn, Angel M. Foster*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Across Australia, multiple strategies have emerged to decentralize abortion care and increase access to mifepristone, including incorporating medication abortion into primary care and offering the mifepristone and misoprostol regimen via telemedicine. We aimed to explore the experiences of patients accessing medication abortion care across these different health service delivery formats and different geographic areas.

Study design: We conducted in-depth interviews with 22 people from across Australia who had used mifepristone for abortion. We audio-recorded and transcribed all interviews and managed our data with ATLAS.ti. We used deductive and inductive techniques to analyze these data for content and themes.

Results: Although participants were generally satisfied with the abortion care they received, many described medication abortion care in Australia as inaccessible and confusing to find. Our participants incurred variable and often significant financial costs when obtaining their abortion and many reported that their interactions with general practitioners when trying to locate an abortion provider were uninformative and stigmatizing. Participants were enthusiastic about obtaining medication abortion through a variety of service delivery modalities, including telemedicine, and believed these strategies could increase equitable and affordable access.

Conclusions: Barriers to finding and accessing abortion care persist across Australia. Efforts to challenge the over-regulation of mifepristone, increase the affordability of medication abortion, and enhance training opportunities to educate a variety of clinicians about medication abortion and support provision from a range of providers appear warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-260
Number of pages5
Issue number4
Early online date9 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Abortion
  • Health service delivery
  • Medication abortion
  • Mifepristone
  • Primary care
  • Telemedicine


Dive into the research topics of '"We've got rights and yet we don't have access": exploring patient experiences accessing medication abortion in Australia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this