“Becoming the woman she wishes you to be”: A qualitative study exploring the experiences of medication abortion acompañantes in three regions in Mexico

Suzanne Veldhuis, Georgina Sánchez-Ramírez, Blair G. Darney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: Acompañantes are activists who accompany women who have medication abortions outside of clinical settings. We describe models of accompaniment across 3 states in Mexico with diverse abortion laws, access, and acompañantes, and describe how acompañantes conceptualize the benefits and challenges of their work. Study design: In this exploratory, qualitative study, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 14 participants about their experiences as acompañantes, in 2 states with restrictive abortion legislation (Baja-California, Chiapas) at the time of research and Mexico City, where abortion is legal upon request in the first trimester. We used a feminist ethnography approach and analyzed data using a priori categories which included perceived benefits of and challenges of the accompaniment model. Results: Participants described similar steps and general characteristics of the accompaniment process regardless of the setting, supporting the concept of an overarching definition of the holistic accompaniment model for these acompañantes. Holistic accompaniment is a horizontal model that involves trusting women, not asking for the reasons for their abortion, preventing criminalization, economic support, respecting autonomy, emotional accompaniment, and being flexible. Participants described perceived advantages, including safety, even in settings otherwise unsafe, such as where women may be stigmatized and / or criminalized. Participants described benefits of autonomous abortion compared to in-clinic medication abortion or surgical abortion, and benefits specifically related to accompaniment, such as the potential to make the abortion a positive experience. Conclusions: We describe components of a holistic accompaniment model in Mexico which has specific characteristics that may benefit women who opt for out-of-clinic abortion. Implications: We describe specific characteristics of a holistic accompaniment model in Mexico; this description facilitates learning across models and could be used to better understand the similarities and differences among accompaniment models, other self-managed medication abortion models, and provider-led abortion services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Accompaniment
  • Medication abortion
  • Mexico
  • Misoprostol
  • Safe abortion
  • Self-managed abortion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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