Obstetrician-gynecologists' objections to and willingness to help patients obtain an abortion.
OBJECTIVE: To describe obstetrician-gynecologists' (ob-gyns') views and willingness to help women seeking abortion in a variety of clinical scenarios. METHODS: We conducted a mailed survey of 1,800 U.S. ob-gyns. We presented seven scenarios in which patients sought abortions. For each, respondents indicated if they morally objected to abortion and if they would help patients obtain an abortion. We analyzed predictors of objection and assistance. RESULTS: The response rate was 66%. Objection to abortion ranged from 16% (cardiopulmonary disease) to 82% (sex selection); willingness to assist ranged from 64% (sex selection) to 93% (cardiopulmonary disease). Excluding sex selection, objection was less likely among ob-gyns who were female (odds ratio [OR] 0.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.4-0.8), urban (OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.1-0.7), or Jewish (OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.1-0.7) compared with male, rural, or religiously unaffiliated ob-gyns. Objection was more likely among ob-gyns from the South (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.2-3.0) or Midwest (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.2-3.1), and among Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, or Muslim ob-gyns, or those for whom religion was most important, compared with reference. Among ob-gyns who objected to abortion in a given case, approximately two-thirds would help patients obtain an abortion. Excluding sex selection, assistance despite objection was more likely among female (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.1-2.9) and United States-born ob-gyns (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.1-4.7) and less likely among southern ob-gyns (OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.2-0.6) or those for whom religion was most important (OR 0.3, 95% CI 0.1-0.7). CONCLUSION: Most ob-gyns help patients obtain an abortion even when they morally object to abortion in that case. Willingness to assist varies by clinical context and physician characteristics. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: II.
Harris, LH; Cooper, A; Rasinski, KA; Curlin, FA; Lyerly, AD
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