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Self-managed abortion: A systematic scoping review

  • Author(s): Moseson, Heidi
  • Herold, Stephanie
  • Filippa, Sofia
  • Barr-Walker, Jill
  • Baum, Sarah E
  • Gerdts, Caitlin
  • et al.

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Self-managed abortion, when a person performs their own abortion without clinical supervision, is a model of abortion care used across a range of settings. To provide a comprehensive synthesis of the available literature on self-managed abortion, we conducted a systematic search for peer-reviewed research in April 2019 in PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Popline, PsycINFO, Google Scholar, Scielo, and Redalyc. We included studies that had a research question focused on self-managed abortion; and were published in English or Spanish. The combined search returned 7,167 studies; after screening, 99 studies were included in the analysis. Included studies reported on methods, procurement, characteristics of those who self-managed, effectiveness, safety, reasons for self-managed abortion, and emotional and physical experiences. Numerous abortion methods were reported, most frequently abortion with pills and herbs. Studies reporting on self-managed medication abortion reported high-levels of effectiveness. We identify gaps in the research, and make recommendations to address those gaps.

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