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[Health personnel in the matter of legal abortion: physicians and other personnel should have the right to refuse to perform abortions] Lakare och ovrig personal skall ha ratt vagra utfora aborter.
LAKARTIDNINGEN. 1983 Sep; 80(39):3541-5.712 responses to 765 questionnaires distributed to health care personnel revealed that, since 1975 when the abortion law came into effect in Sweden, attitudes toward abortion have become less critical than a 1972 survey had indicated. Most of the respondents (91%) were women, 50% worked in women's clinics, while the 114 control subjects were employed in psychiatric or surgical wards. Most had participated in abortion procedures (305 vacuum extractions and 296 late abortions), and only 125 had no direct experience with abortion. Most respondents (87%) had not had an abortion. Results showed that about 20% had a critical and uninformed view of legal abortion, 1/3 had difficulty with the thought of seeking an abortion, another 1/3 preferred adoption to abortion, and 50% thought society should curtail abortions. The attitudes of psychiatric staff were more liberal: 80% approved of seeking an abortion for themselves as opposed to only 50% of ob-gyn personnel. More respondents expressed a negative view of abortion in 1981 than in 1972 (only 20% approved of it in cases where there was no medical risk to the mother, whereas 37% had approved of it in 1972). Most respondents thought that the decision to seek abortion should also involve men, and to a lesser degree, gynecologists, psychiatrists, and social workers. The majority (92.8%) approved of extensive counseling prior to abortion. 64% approved of special abortion clinics and also gave a positive response to the question of whether performing abortions was one of the duties of physicians. Another 46% of the respondents agreed that medical personnel had the right to deny abortion. A large percentage (66%) considered the abortion procedure a negative experience, especially doctors and operating room nurses. The majority of respondents (344 = 80%) thought that better information about contraception, fetal development, and sexuality would help reduce prevailing abortion figures. About 1/2 of those surveyed also favored a more restrictive abortion law. Finally, many respondents stressed that socio-economic factors, employment, and male attitudes about child rearing contributed to individual decisions.