Am J Perinatol
DOI: 10.1055/s-0044-1779746
Original Article

Intimate Partner Violence Detected during Abortion-Related Visits: A Systematic Review of Screenings and Interventions

Thwisha Sabloak
1   Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chicago, Illinois
Isa Ryan
1   Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chicago, Illinois
Skylar Nahi
1   Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chicago, Illinois
Patrick Eucalitto
1   Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chicago, Illinois
Melissa A. Simon
1   Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Chicago, Illinois
Ashish Premkumar
2   The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Department of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Chicago, Illinois
› Author Affiliations
Funding None.


Objective To perform a systematic review of screening tools and interventions focused on reducing adverse health outcomes associated with intimate partner violence (IPV) at abortion-related visits.

Study Design Studies were eligible if they included individuals seeking pregnancy options health care services in the United States, screening for or implementation of an intervention for IPV, and were published in English after the year 2000. The primary outcomes were to summarize screening tools, interventions studied, and if interventions led to individuals being connected to IPV-related resources. Secondary outcomes included patient responses to the IPV-related interventions and any other outcomes reported by the studies (PROSPERO #42021252199).

Results Among 4,205 abstracts identified, nine studies met inclusion criteria. The majority (n = 6) employed the ARCHES (Addressing Reproductive Coercion in Health Settings) tool for identification of IPV. Interventions included provider-facilitated discussions of IPV, a safety card with information about IPV and community-based resources, and referral pathways to directly connect patients with support services. For the primary outcome, IPV-related interventions were shown to better inform patients of available IPV-related resources as compared to no intervention at all. For the secondary outcomes, screening and intervening on IPV were associated with improvements in patient perception of provider empathy (i.e., caring about safety) and safer responses by patients to unhealthy relationships.

Conclusion Screening for and intervening on IPV at abortion-related visits are associated with positive outcomes for patient safety and the patient–provider relationship. However, data on effective tools for identifying and supporting these patients are extremely limited. This review emphasizes the unmet need for implementation and evaluation of IPV-specific interventions during abortion-related clinical encounters.

Key Points

  • The abortion visit offers a crucial setting to address IPV among a highly affected population.

  • This study reviews others that analyzed interventions and associated outcomes for IPV at abortion-related visits.

  • Appropriate interventions for IPV can improve patient-provider relationships and connect patients to essential resources.


Several studies have analyzed and demonstrated that there is a large prevalence of IPV in those seeking abortion, few have analyzed what to do about it. This study is a literature review of studies that analyze interventions for IPV at abortion-related visits and associated outcomes. It provides recommendations from previously successful interventions and offers suggestions moving forward. In the limelight of the recent Dobbs decision, this study provides insight into the importance abortion-related health care can play.

Supplementary Material

Publication History

Received: 02 October 2023

Accepted: 22 January 2024

Article published online:
16 February 2024

© 2024. Thieme. All rights reserved.

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