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Multiple abortions: The women who request them and the staff who provide them

McKnight, Christine

Multiple abortions: The women who request them and the staff who provide them Thumbnail


Christine McKnight


There has been little qualitative research on abortion care in the UK, which explores the voices of women who have undergone this procedure. Previous research has focussed on clinical research into the safety and efficacy of abortion, the characteristics of those requesting abortions, whether abortion has a detrimental impact on women emotionally or physically and how to utilise contraception methods especially long acting reversible contraception (LARC) within this group. The aim of this research is to investigate women’s experiences of multiple abortions and the experiences of staff who provide those abortions and from those experiences what would work to help reduce multiple requests for abortions.

Ten women who had requested multiple abortions and twelve staff members who worked in an abortion service, were interviewed about their experiences of multiple abortions. Their interviews were transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was performed on the interviews which generated themes.

Three main themes were identified within the data. The first theme the psycho-social-political impact of stigma presented evidence that stigma is pervasive in abortion work and impacts on all levels from the interpersonal to public policy. The second theme was the experience and expectation of avoidant style coping, presented evidence that women within this study utilised an avoidant style of coping, which is maladaptive. The final theme imperfect contraception examined how the side effects of contraception impact on women’s view and use of contraception. This theme also explored the ‘feminisation of contraception’ and the lack of male involvement.

Abortion is a gendered health care provision in which the burden is on women however, due to the stigmatised nature of this the power does not lie with the individual women themselves.


McKnight, C. Multiple abortions: The women who request them and the staff who provide them. (Thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Feb 11, 2020
Publicly Available Date Aug 19, 2020
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