Irish and Northern Irish women completing at-home medical termination of pregnancy report benefits for health, well-being and autonomy, study finds | LBJ School of Public Affairs | The University of Texas at Austin

AUSTIN, Texas – In a recent study of characteristics and experiences of women in Ireland and Northern Ireland seeking and completing at-home medical termination of pregnancy (TOP) through online telemedicine, the vast majority of women had a positive experience and reported benefits for health, wellbeing and autonomy, reported Abigail Aiken, an assistant professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin.

The study examined both the demographics and circumstances of 5,650 women requesting early medical TOP between 2010 and 2015, and the experiences of 1,023 women who completed TOP from January 2010 to December 2012. Women were diverse with respect to age, pregnancy circumstances and reasons for seeking TOP. Results were peer-reviewed and published in the international journal, British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG).

Study findings include:

  • Among women completing early medical TOP, 97 percent felt they made the right choice and 98 percent would recommend it to others in a similar situation.
  • Women commonly reported serious mental stress caused by their pregnancies, and the stigma, fear and isolation caused by current reproductive health laws. 
  • The feelings women most commonly reported after completing TOP were ‘relieved’ (70 percent) and ‘satisfied’ (36 percent).
  • Women with financial hardship had twice the risk of lacking emotional support from family and friends.

“Women in Ireland and Northern Ireland accessing medical abortion through online telemedicine report overwhelmingly positive benefits for health, wellbeing, and autonomy,” Aiken said.  “This examination and subsequent findings contribute new evidence to inform the policy debate surrounding abortion laws in Ireland and Northern Ireland.”

Funding for this research was in part provided by infrastructure grants for population research from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health.

The study was published online first at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1471-0528.14401/full.

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