Dash logoUC San Francisco logo

Self-managed abortion in the literature: a systematic scoping review


Moseson, Heidi et al. (2019), Self-managed abortion in the literature: a systematic scoping review, v2, UC San Francisco Dash, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.7272/Q6XS5SKD


Self-managed abortion, when a person performs their own abortion without clinical supervision, is a model of abortion care used across a range of settings. To provide a comprehensive synthesis of the state of the literature on self-managed abortion, we conducted a systematic search for peer-reviewed research in April 2019 in PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Popline, PsycINFO, Google Scholar, Scielo, and Redalyc. We included studies that had a research question focused on self-managed abortion; and were published in English or Spanish. The combined search returned 7,167 studies; after screening, 108 studies were included in the analysis. Included studies reported on methods, safety, procurement, characteristics of those who self-manage, effectiveness, reasons for self-managed abortion, and emotional and physical experiences. Numerous abortion methods are reported, most frequently abortion with pills and herbal methods. Inconsistencies in measurement are common, including the definitions provided for “effective” and “safe.” We make initial recommendations to focus and align the field for future research.

Usage Notes

Table 3: Sociodemographic and other characteristics reported in the literature about people who self-managed an abortion

Table 4: Reasons reported in included studies for self-managing an abortion

Table 5: Emotional experiences with self-managed abortion reported in included studies

Appendix 1: Systematic review search strategy

Appendix 2: Methods of self-managed abortion reported in the literature, and information on how methods were procured