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The role of healthcare providers in expanding legal abortion:Qualitative insights from Argentina, Ireland, and South Korea

Lisa Juanola van Keizerswaard , Irene de Vries , Nicole Moran, Saskia Poorter, Maryse Kok, Nina Zamberlin, Sunhye Kim, Mary Favier, Wendy Chavkin
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Abortion laws are key in creating an enabling environment that facilitates the advancement of people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Around 50 countries have liberalized their abortion laws in the last decades by adding new grounds allowing abortion. The road toward the expansion of legal abortion is a long, highly sensitive, and difficult process.

The specific role of healthcare providers in influencing abortion law reforms has been scarcely studied. With the objective to better understand their (potential) roles, a qualitative study was conducted in 2021 focusing on three countries that had recently liberalized their abortion regulations: Argentina, South Korea, and Ireland. For each country, key informant interviews were conducted with actors in advocacy for legal change, the majority with healthcare providers. The study results indicate that healthcare providers can contribute to the expansion of legal abortion through their influence on public and legal debates.