Family physicians care for people of all ages and genders, in many settings, for many conditions. We at RHEDI believe that one way to provide truly full-spectrum care is to allow patients to receive abortion care right in their own family doctor’s office. Early abortion (medication or aspiration) is one of the most common medical treatments for people of reproductive age in the United States. Abortion with medication or with a uterine aspiration procedure is safe and effective, and can be easily incorporated into a routine primary care visit.
Contraception, pregnancy options counseling, prenatal care, deliveries, and abortion all fall within the scope of family medicine; however, most family doctors do not currently have the opportunity to learn how to care for people seeking abortion. (Like other potential abortion providers, they also face a range of state and federal restrictions regarding provision and reimbursement.) As a result, family physicians usually send patients to outside providers, when the evidence is clear that the many people prefer to receive abortion care with their own doctor in a familiar setting.
Integrating comprehensive SRH training into family medicine education normalizes the provision of abortion within primary care, enhances continuity in care for patients, and provides more options for people who may prefer to have an abortion in their own physician’s office. Increasing the number of family physicians who provide abortion care also means increasing access, especially for people in rural or otherwise underserved communities.
For more on abortion care in family medicine, see RHEDI’s Op-Ed in Scientific American.