Medical vs. surgical abortion: The importance of women's choice

Caroline Moreau, James Trussell, Julie Desfreres, Nathalie Bajos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: Using a large national sample of women undergoing an abortion in France, we explore the factors associated with medical or surgical abortion. We draw particular attention to the influence of women's preferences in the decision-making process. Study Design: The data are drawn from a nationally representative survey of 8245 women undergoing an elective abortion in France in 2007. Analyses of factors associated with the type of abortion technique were performed among the 4650 women who were identified as being eligible for the two techniques. Results: Sixty-eight percent of all abortions were medical procedures among women eligible for both techniques. The type of abortion technique was not dependent on women's age, parity, cohabitation status, socioeconomic circumstances nor on the type of facility providing the abortion (private or public). Conversely, women's participation in the decision-making process was strongly associated with the type of abortion method. Among the 50% of women who reported they had been given a choice, 84% underwent a medical procedure vs. 52% of those who were not offered a choice. Among the 2286 women who were not involved in the decision, 35% indicated they trusted their doctor to make the best choice for them, while 44% were told it was too late for a medical procedure, although they had consulted before 8 weeks of amenorrhea. Conclusion: In this sample of French women who participated in a national survey on abortion, those who were involved in the decision-making process as to whether to have a medical or surgical procedure showed a strong preference for the medical procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-229
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Frances
  • Induced abortion
  • Medical abortion
  • Shared decision making
  • Surgical abortion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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