Background: There is little research into medical students’ or doctors’ attitudes to abortion, yet knowing this is important, as policy makers should be aware of the views held by professionals directly involved in abortion provision and changing views may have practical implications for the provision of abortion in the future.
Methods: We surveyed 300 medical students about their views on abortion, their beliefs about the status of the fetus and the rights of the mother, their attitude towards UK law and their willingness to be involved in abortion provision as qualified doctors.
Results: 62% of medical students were pro-choice, 33% pro-life and 7% undecided. Students’ views correlated with gender, year of study and holding a religious belief. Their beliefs about abortion, the status of the fetus and the rights of women significantly correlated with their attitudes towards the UK law and their willingness to be involved in abortion provision. Students’ willingness to be involved in abortion provision was related to their views on abortion, the extent of participation required, the circumstances of the pregnancy and the stage of pregnancy.
Conclusions: The percentage of pro-choice students was lower than that found in research on general practitioners’ attitudes to abortion. It is unclear whether this is because students become more pro-choice as they progress through their medical career or because there is genuinely a change in attitudes to abortion.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.
▸ The appendix is published online only at http://jme.bmj.com/content/vol34/issue11
Competing interests: None declared.
Read the full text or download the PDF:
Other content recommended for you
- The first survey of attitudes of medical students in Ireland towards termination of pregnancy
- A qualitative analysis of medical students’ attitudes to abortion education in UK medical schools
- Future health providers’ willingness to provide abortion services following decriminalisation of abortion in Chile: a cross-sectional survey
- Medical students’ attitudes to abortion: a comparison between Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Oslo
- Barriers and facilitators of access to first-trimester abortion services for women in the developed world: a systematic review
- Issues for service providers: a response to points raised
- Abortion teaching must empower medical students and doctors to advocate for reproductive justice
- Alcohol and other substance use among medical and law students at a UK university: a cross-sectional questionnaire survey
- Abortion care services delivered from a community sexual and reproductive health setting: views of health care professionals
- A pilot study of interprofessional palliative care education of medical students in the UK and USA