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Combination Birth, Abortion Centers Focus on 'Continuum' of Reproductive Health Care

Combination Birth, Abortion Centers Focus on 'Continuum' of Reproductive Health Care

June 17, 2014 — Reproductive health centers that offer both birth and abortion services "might lessen the stigma of abortion," Alissa Quart, an author, writes in a New York Times opinion piece.

Centers like Buffalo Womenservices in New York are "part of an effort to reframe reproductive care as a continuum -- the phrase for it is 'full-spectrum reproductive health' -- than spans both birth and abortion," Quart explains, noting that facilities for birth and abortion are typically distinct.

The combination "underlines how many women experience both birth and abortion," she writes. "Three in 10 women will have an abortion in their lives; eight out of 10 will give birth," and "[a]bout 61 percent of women who have an abortion already have at least one child," according to Quart. However, specializing in both types of care is uncommon, with "only 14 percent of doctors who specialize in obstetrics and gynecology perform[ing] abortions," Quart writes.

Supporters of combining both services hope to connect "birth activists" and abortion-rights advocates, she continues. Groups that support full-spectrum reproductive health care are often started by doulas, she adds.

"We now hew to religious rhetoric on one hand or rights-oriented rhetoric on the other," Quart writes, concluding, "Seeing reproductive care as a continuum might rejigger our thinking and remind us that many of us experience both childbirth and abortion" (Quart, New York Times, 6/14).