Advanced practice clinicians as abortion providers: Current developments in the United States

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A hopeful note in the contemporary abortion environment in the United States is the expanding role of advanced practice clinicians - nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurse-midwives - in first trimester abortion provision. A large percentage of primary health care in the US is currently provided by these non-physicians but their involvement in abortion care is promising, especially in light of the shortage of physician providers. Two national symposia in 1990 and 1996 approved the expansion of early abortion care to non-physicians. As of January 2004, trained advanced practice clinicians were providing medical, and in some cases, early surgical abortion in 14 states. This has required not only medical training but also political organising to achieve the necessary legal and regulatory changes, state by state, by groups such as Clinicians for Choice and the Abortion Access Project, described here in examples in two states and the reflections of three advanced practice clinicians. Recent surveys in three states show a substantial interest among advanced practice clinicians in abortion training, leading to cautious optimism about the possibility of increased abortion access for women. Most encouraging, advanced practice clinicians, like their physician counterparts, show a level of passionate commitment to the work that is rare elsewhere in health care in the US today. © 2004 Reproductive Health Matters. All rights reserved.




Joffe, C., & Yanow, S. (2004). Advanced practice clinicians as abortion providers: Current developments in the United States. Reproductive Health Matters, 12(24 SUPPL.), 198–206.

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