An estimated 30 percent of US women will have an abortion in their lifetimes. Globally, 13 percent of all pregnancies in Africa, 40 percent in Latin America and 29 percent in Asia end in abortion—a total of 36 million annually. Despite the continued need for safe and accessible abortion care, research opportunities are limited and there is a shortage of trained providers worldwide.
The Bixby Center is one of the few research institutions to unflinchingly address abortion, investigating multidimensional aspects of abortion care in the United States and globally. Our work has:
- Led to new methods of abortion.
- Expanded the abortion care workforce.
- Increased the number of highly trained abortion providers.
- Expanded access to care internationally.
- Provided the best-available estimates of abortion safety.
- Created new insights into the impact of abortion on women’s lives.
The Bixby Center has been a leader in clinical research to develop methods of abortion and improve abortion care. Our research demonstrated the efficacy, safety and acceptability of the combined use of mifepristone and misoprostol for early abortion. We have continued to lead clinical trials to improve abortion safety and access. And our researchers are examining the kinds of abortion care women prefer in specific contexts.
Social science research
Our program Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) leads innovative, rigorous studies of abortion. For example, ANSIRH’s Turnaway Study examines the mental, emotional, physical and socioeconomic consequences of abortion. It involves almost 1,000 women who sought abortions at 30 clinics around the United States. Some of the women received abortions while others were denied the procedure because of clinic or state policies. Additional ANSIRH research is focused on integrating abortion into primary care, the effects of state abortion restrictions, provider experiences, and cultural narratives about abortion in film and television.
One of the few recent state laws expanding access to abortion care was grounded in Bixby research. California affirmed that nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives and physician assistants can safely perform early abortions.
Our extensive training programs are helping address the lack of abortion training and integration of family planning into medical education. Before 1999, less than 15 percent of obstetrics and gynecology residency training programs provided routine abortion training. Though our Ryan Residency Training Program, which provides ob-gyn residents the opportunity to develop clinical and research skills in abortion and contraception, we've doubled the number of programs addressing these critical women's health issues. Additionally, the Fellowship in Family Planning trains subspecialty leaders in family planning and research methods. Graduated fellows have become experts and leaders in academic medical centers, teaching hospitals, NGOs and research institutions globally.