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Examination of the Sanctuary: Uses of a Meditative Space in a Women's Health Clinic

Vitriol, Anna Alpern (2010) Examination of the Sanctuary: Uses of a Meditative Space in a Women's Health Clinic. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Abortion, much like pregnancy, can play a significant role in the course of a woman's life. Even so, abortion is complicated by a number of barriers - legal, financial, emotional, spiritual, religious, and physical -- with which women and men struggle beyond the mere complexity of undergoing a surgical procedure. Although abortion can be pivotal in a woman's life, every individual is remarkably different, and for that reason so is every abortion experience. For over 30 years, Allegheny Reproductive Health Center (ARHC) has embraced a holistic approach that seeks to understand and address the needs of women and men seeking termination services. In 2008, ARHC erected a space, the Sanctuary, designed specifically to encourage personal reflection and quiet meditation among patients and abortion providers coping with the complex issues surrounding abortion. Thus, in order to understand the impact of the Sanctuary, this exploratory study investigates the various uses of the meditative space. Qualitative research was conducted through the use of semi-structured interviews with clinic workers and by asking visitors to the meditative space to respond to a short questionnaire, which upon completion was placed in a secure box installed within the Sanctuary. From the results, four overarching themes were identified: 1. To work within the abortion field is both complex and important; 2. The next step in abortion care is a holistic approach that addresses a patient's specific needs; 3. The development of the Sanctuary is a step toward advancing abortion care for women and men; and 4. To establish an understanding of how the space is used by patients and clinic workers. These results imply that applying a holistic approach in abortion care, through the use of a space such as the Sanctuary, is respectful of the varability in women's and men's experiences related to pregnancy termination. Moreover, the findings indicate that participants support the placement and use of the Sanctuary, for themseleves as well as patients. In terms of public health relevance, professionals within the field can utilize this research to advance the understanding of how to assist women and men in managing the complexities of abortion.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Vitriol, Anna
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairTerry, Martha Annmaterry@pitt.eduMATERRY
Committee MemberGrubs, Robinrgrubs@pitt.eduRGRUBS
Committee MemberGoodkind, Sarasag51@pitt.eduSAG51
Date: 28 June 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 15 April 2010
Approval Date: 28 June 2010
Submission Date: 2 April 2010
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Behavioral and Community Health Sciences
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: abortion; women's health
Other ID:, etd-04022010-165201
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:33
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:38


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