Influence of clinician referral on Nebraska women's decision-to-abortion time

Valerie French, Renaisa Anthony, Chelsea Souder, Christine Geistkemper, Eleanor Drey, Jody Steinauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective To assess the association of clinician referral with decision-to-abortion time. Study design We conducted a cross-sectional survey of women seeking abortion at all three Nebraska abortion clinics. We defined referral as direct (information for an abortion clinic), inappropriate (information for a clinic that does not provide abortions) or no referral. Women reported when they recognized their pregnancy, decided to seek abortion and contacted a clinician. The primary outcome - decision-to-abortion time - was time from certain decision to abortion. We used multivariate linear regression analysis, controlling for potential confounders. Results Participants (n= 356) were a mean of 26.8±5.3 years old, primarily white (62%), unmarried (88%) and urban (87%), with a mean gestational duration of 82/7 weeks (S.D.± 20 days). Forty-six percent (164) had contacted a clinician and 30% (104) had discussed abortion with one before their abortion. Of those, 30% received a direct referral, 6% received an inappropriate referral and 64% received no referral. Decision-to-abortion time did not vary by referral type [mean difference compared with direct referral: inappropriate referral, 1.1 days, 95% confidence interval (CI) - 13.4 to 15.6, p=.88; no referral, - 0.4 days, 95% CI - 7.0 to 6.3]. The most common reasons cited for delay in obtaining an abortion were an inability to get an earlier appointment (105/263, 40%) and time needed to raise money to pay for the abortion (73/263, 28%). Conclusion While neither occurrence of referral nor type was associated with decision-to-abortion times, women in Nebraska continue to face barriers to timely abortion care. Implications Additional research is needed to explore whether quality clinician referral improves abortion access and whether increased resources should be dedicated to improving referral patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-243
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Abortion
  • Abortion referral
  • Access
  • Delay
  • Referral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


Dive into the research topics of 'Influence of clinician referral on Nebraska women's decision-to-abortion time'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this