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JOURNAL OF COMMUNICATION. 1981 Spring; 31(2):106-15.The nature of science reporting for the U.S. mass media is detailed as an introduction to a brief analysis of the effect of media coverage on public opposition to science issues. There are a small number of scientist "stars" often seen on television, and a similar small number of influential reporters of science, about 50, who dominate the print media. There is a localized, slender communication link between the science community and the journalist community, with friendly exchange of information and favors. This local bias is exemplified by the public relations received on publication of the book "Sociobiology, A Science of Altruism," described as a manufactured "science event" turned into a national controversy via this narrow communications channel. It is possible to demonstrate fluctuations in media coverage, such as by numbers of articles indexed in the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature, and Television News: Index and Abstracts. When publicity of issues is plotted vs. public opinion polls, on issues such as fluoridation and nuclear power plants, an increase in public hostility can be seen with each rise in publicity. Media exposure to scientific issues seems to encourage public opposition and suspicion, suggesting that the public is either discriminatory, or perhaps anxious in a counter-productive direction.
NEW AFRICAN. 1990 Feb; (269):28.In October 1989 midwives and nurses held mass demonstrations in Benin city, the capital of Bendel State, Nigeria, to protest against female circumcision. This practice, which is firmly entrenched in the area, may involve cutting off the clitoris or more extensive removal of girls' genitalia, either in infancy or at puberty. Nigerian hospitals no longer perform circumcision, so people do it themselves or have traditional practitioners do so. Recent demonstrations reflect outrage on the part of Western-trained health care activists regarding aesthetic and obstetric complications, as well as added risk of spreading tetanus and AIDS by unsanitary procedures.
Ann Arbor, Michigan, University Microfilms International, 1987. x, 140,  p. (Order Number 8801414)The abortion debate in the US has been dominated by 2 forces: anti- abortion groups that advocate severe restrictions on this procedure and pro-abortion organizations that uphold the woman's right to choose. An analysis of data on abortion collected by the National Opinion Research Council for the past 20 years suggests that most Americans place themselves in the middle ground, favoring legal abortion only in certain circumstances. Those with such mixed feelings tend to distinguish between legal and moral issues, supporting the woman's right to personal autonomy yet personally considering the procedure to be the taking of a life. There is far greater willingness to support legal abortion than to agree that abortion is morally acceptable, as evidenced by the fact that 40% of pro-choice supporters have serious moral concerns about the procedure. A cohort analysis of the data set indicated that women interviewed in 1965 were more approving of abortion than later cohorts and have retained their liberal stance. Another finding was that young people of both sexes were more likely than older respondents to cite the ability of a family to love and provide for a child as an important consideration in evaluating the rightness or wrongness of abortion. This pragmatic approach seems to be associated with greater ambivalence on the abortion issue than a straightforward woman's rights stance. On the other hand, the data suggest that anti-abortion forces are least ambivalent on this issue and are more committed to social action than pro-choice forces. To learn more about public ambivalence on the abortion issue, there is a need for survey measures that focus on the conflicting values that underlie beliefs about abortion.
YEARBOOK OF POPULATION RESEARCH IN FINLAND. 1989; 27:53-9.The fertility level in Finland, after decades of decline, has stabilized at 1.6; attitudes and practical obstacles to reversing this negative growth are presented. The low fertility in Finland has a long history and complex causation, but is now so entrenched as to be embedded in the culture. People, women included, think as individuals, and consider family development to be their private business. The small family is such an accepted cultural norm that political speeches about raising fertility are considered inappropriate. The lack of adequate affordable housing, the high taxation and indebtedness experienced by young people, and the lack of institutional support, especially day care are practical factors preventing childbearing. Many women are used to having a job and being independent, and do not relish taking on double labor. Others have had bad experiences with poor day care and housing arrangements with 1 child and do not want to repeat it with another. The breakup of traditional extended families has eliminated child care, but also raises the question how elderly people will be cared for. While there is an evident lack of political solutions to the problem of population structure, even larger is the problem of social renewal, of creating a new society where children will fit in.
The cultural meaning of AIDS and condoms for stable heterosexual relations in Africa: recent evidence from the local print media.
[Unpublished] 1989 Mar. Paper presented at the Seminar on Population Policy in Subsaharan Africa: Drawing on International Experience, sponsored by the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population (IUSSP), Committee on Population and Policy, with the collaboration of Departement de Demographie de l'Universite de Kinshasa, Commission Nationale de la Population du Zaire (CONAPO), Secretariat au Plan du Zaire, held at the Hotel Okapi, Kinshasa, Zaire, 27 February to 2 March 1989. 27 p.This paper draws on the authors previous research experience in Liberia and Sierra Leone, and articles in local newspapers and journals from Central, Eastern and Western Africa. To research the AIDS epidemic in terms of: 1) problems for fertility that condoms pose 2) the association of condoms with promiscuity 3) economic pressures that induce women to contract lovers and men to enter polygamous relationships 4) the importance of fertility and 5) the association of AIDS with promiscuity. There is great concern for the uninfected children of parents who die of AIDS. Women are generally being blamed for spreading the HIV virus to their partners and being promiscuous making all her children suspicious as products of illicit unions. The father and his kin often repudiate these offspring. Questions are raised as to where these children will go and, what is the economic and social effect of their geographical mobility? Young women, school girls in particular, now comprise one of the groups at high risk for contracting the HIV virus because private schools expose girls to older, wealthier, married men. Parents may begin growing reluctant to send their daughters to school to avoid the AIDS virus, while encouraging them to marry early, leading to higher fertility rates and low interest in contraception. Yet secondary schools are the best arenas to introduce condoms and AIDS education because the girls are highly motivated. The use of condoms in Africa is controversial because they prevent fertility and suggest promiscuity. 2 major philosophies are common among health manpower: 1) minimizing the demographic impact of AIDS in light of continued high fertility rates, or 2) emphasizing the crisis brought on by death and destruction. Government efforts to publicize the AIDS epidemic and the utility of condoms as a prophylactic are doing the greatest service to women and society by providing them with credible elements of ambiguity and deniability.
NURSING RSA. 1988 Aug; 3(8):5-7.The 1st major conference on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome was held in Johannesburg last year. Foremost in the minds of the conference attendants were the issues of prejudice and ignorance in dealing with AIDS. Dr. Guido van Der Groen stated, in response to a remark that AIDS was a disease from Africa, "There is no such thing as African AIDS." Incidence of prejudice and ignorance were cited by the conference's attendants. 1 attendant cited the threat of "generalized homophobia" as a major obstacle in the treatment of AIDS patients. Another attendant called for the use of common sense in the dealing with AIDS. Statistics show that while 54% of the black population still considers AIDS an American disease, the majority of whites consider its origins to be from Africa. 30% of blacks and 89% of the white population still believe that there is no need to change their sexual behavior. Another conference attendant believed that classrooms are the battleground of AIDS. Measures such as preventive lifestyle education and the return to monogamous bonding were also discussed. It is important to note that no gay organizations were represented in this conference.
Social Science and Medicine. 1989; 29(4):545-53.This article addresses the high incidence of AIDS in Puerto Rico (PR). Reasons include the high incidence of homosexuality and drug usage on the island, and the high rates of return migration and tourism between New York and PR. Since there is very little material on AIDS in PR, much of the data on the public's knowledge and awareness of the disease has been taken from the daily press. All copies of the 5 major daily newspapers were reviewed from January 1981 to the present. 1981 was the 1st year that AIDS was accepted as a disease, the year the 1st medical articles appeared describing it, and the year it was named. Nearly all information regarding the AIDS epidemic in PR has been turned into major controversies: the incidence of the disease (actual cases), testing for it, funding of AIDS research and patient care, methods of preventing the disease (education), the use of condoms, methods of contacting the disease and how infection can be avoided, and protection of prisoners. The victims of AIDS: the homosexuals, drug addicts, and hemophiliacs were left out of the controversies as participants. The controversies were nonmedical and nonscientific, suggesting that the public perceived insufficient interest on the part of medical and political leaders and was expropriating the problem. AIDS was seen as more of a political question than a medical one, with politicians turning the controversies into debates. It can be concluded that unless a strong apolitical socially organized assault is mounted on AIDS by the people, a society such as PR will have difficulty surviving the epidemic.
INTERNATIONAL QUARTERLY OF COMMUNITY HEALTH EDUCATION. 1988-89; 9(2):111-24.This retrospective examination looks at the strengths and weaknesses of anti-sterilization abuse organizing in the US, and draws out lessons for other areas of work. It begins by exploring the problem of sterilization abuse and the history of the movement against it. Theoretical concepts of community organizing, such as, the concept of community and the concept of movement, are defined and discussed. Issue selection and strategy, 2 crucial aspects of any successful organizing effort, are examined as are organizational forms and coalition building. An evaluation indicates that the anti-abuse efforts were successful and rich with lessons for reproductive rights and other popular health struggles today. (Author's modified)
[Opinions on family size variation and the population problem] Meningen over het bevolkingsvraagstuk en de gezinsgroottevariatie.
BEVOLKING EN GEZIN. 1988 Dec; (3):25-51.Attitudes toward current and projected fertility levels and family size uniformity in Belgium are examined. "Analyzing a subsample of [the 1982-1983 survey] NEGO IV (2,547 married and unmarried women cohabiting with their partner, aged 20 to 44 years, living in the Flemish community, and of Belgian nationality), a widespread unawareness of the population problem emerges. With the exception of higher educated women, mothers of at least three children and regularly practicing catholics, respondents are even more favourable to a population decline and increasing family size uniformity than to countermeasures. Individual- and [ego]-centered values seem to have higher priority than 'demographic integrity'." (SUMMARY IN ENG) (EXCERPT)
Lancet. 1989 Apr 22; 1(8643):879-80.A historical review of the legislation of abortion in America leads to the paramount 1973 amendment by the Supreme Court to legalize abortion. The 16 year old decision is currently up for reconsideration. As compared to the consensus of other countries who have similar policies, in the United States, the issue of abortion is still highly controversial. The Reagan era reflected an attitude of "anti-choice" that was further propagated by Reagan appointees. However, only 1 in 10 Americans believes abortion is murder as many are pro-choice. It is also observed that women who work outside the home are more likely to favor the right to choose an abortion than women who stay home. Compared to England and Wales, contraceptive measures are more limited and expensive in the U.S., and consequently, the overall ratio of abortions to live births is higher in the United States. As well, contraception remains elusive to the American teenager, and as a result, 80% of the 1.1 million teenage pregnancies are unwanted and 450,000 terminate their pregnancies. The final Supreme Court decision is expected at the end of June, and few expect a reversal of the 1973 decision. A possible decision may turn the authority to dictate the legal status of abortions back to the state. If this would happen, as with the situation of contraception, teenagers would be the hardest hit group and might be forced to seek illegal abortions or cross state lines.
BMJ. British Medical Journal. 1988 Mar 5; 296(6623):715.All families in a rural physician's practice were polled regarding the prevalence of genetic disorders and the value of genetic counseling and therapeutic termination of pregnancy for fetal abnormality. 1900 questionnaires were distributed in Barnard Castle, England in 1986 and 1987, with a response rate of less than 50%. During this time, a public debate occurred about a bill prohibiting abortions after 18 weeks' gestation. The results of the poll revealed that 82% of the respondents were in favor of termination for fetal abnormality. 685 people were strongly in favor of a genetics advisory service, 229 were generally in favor, 37 were undecided, 10 were not in favor, and 3 were strongly opposed. An even greater proportion were in favor or regional genetics counseling services. Moral or religious background, gender, or handicapped status of the respondents was not determined. While the majority of people felt there was a sound argument for lowering the gestational age limit for therapeutic termination, such termination should not be at the expense of prenatal diagnostic services. Parental choice and the limits of current diagnostic techniques must be considered when establishing gestational age limits for therapeutic termination of pregnancy. Chorionic villus sampling to detect fetal abnormality is an option for women over 35, but the technique involves a high miscarriage risk. The technique may not be available and many women will refuse to accept the uncertainty of fetal normality and request termination before 17 weeks. More than 99% of those terminated fetuses would have been normal. A law mandating a universal standard for late abortions could kill more fetuses than it saves.
SOCIOLOGICAL REVIEW. 1987 Feb; 35(1):123-49.The activities of 2 main pressure groups in the decade of the 1970s--the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) and the LIFE organization--and the evidence they submitted to the Lane Committee, established in 1971 to examine the working of the Abortion Act, and the Select Committee, formed to discuss James White's Amendment Bill in 174, are reviewed. Official campaign literature, public statements on the part of leading anti-abortion activists, national press reports, and parliamentary debates on the issues have helped to provide some insight into the ideological stance of the anti-abortion movement in England and Wales during the 1970s. Fieldwork was undertaken which included nonparticipant observation at local branch meetings of SPUC and LIFE, the completion of a self-administered questionnaire by 64 group members, and semi-structured interviews with 25 local campaign leaders and group activists. The subsequent analysis presents anti-abortion protest as an example of moral crusade by focusing on Gusfield's notion of cultural fundamentalism and his analytical distinction between assimilative and coercive reform. Some participants in the anti-abortion campaign accept that a small number of abortions may need to be performed for genuine medical reasons and do not adopt the extreme position that abortion should be prohibited. This group does demand a change in the law to prevent mass abortion on demand. Both LIFE and SPUC have a clearly recognizable moral reform dimension. The analysis of the campaign literature and the study of a small sample of campaign activists revealed that pressure group members share a common concern about the erosion of moral standards. To adopt the terminology of Gusfield, the anti-abortion movement can be construed, in part, as a movement of cultural fundamentalism, which favors the reestablishment of traditional values and seeking an end to the moral uncertainty endemic in modern society. As the anti-abortion movement is primarily concerned about amending existing legislation, a coercive strategy of reform prevails. The analysis makes it evident that the anti-abortionists in their emphasis on fundamental values seek to promote a traditional sexual morality but also are trying to establish what they believe to be the moral superiority of the traditional nuclear family. Due to the fact that no abortion amendment bills have been proposed on which to focus their campaign, in recent years the anti-abortionists have increasingly focused on the enforcement of existing legislation in an effort to reduce the number of abortions and publicize their moral stance.
ANNALS OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF POLITICAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCE. 1986 Sep; 487:201-12.US attitudes toward both legal and illegal immigration tended to be highly restrictionist during the 1st half of the 20th century. Both legislative and executive-branch policy supported this restrictionist outlook up until the 1940s, when a gradual liberalization of immigration policy toward refugees began to occur because of foreign policy requirements and the onset of the cold war. Although only a very small percentage of Americans have advocated increasing the number of immigrants, the percentage who feel that the numbers should be decreased began to decline during the 1950s and 1960s. Liberalization of public opinion and governmental policy occurred. During the past 15 years, however, public opinion and government policy began to diverge. Because of economic and other problems, Americans became more restrictionist toward immigrants, at least when surveyed by public opinion polls. But the government has difficulty implementing a more restrictionist policy for a variety of reasons, among them the strong lobbying efforts of pro-alien activist groups combined with American ambivalence toward the plight of immigrants as individuals. (author's)
YEARBOOK OF POPULATION RESEARCH IN FINLAND. 1986; 24:29-42.The goal in this paper is to present and discuss results from several Dutch research projects dealing with the acceptance and demographic effects of new policy measures aimed at increasing fertility. The discussion covers the history of Dutch population policy since 1945, research on the acceptance of future pronatalist policy measures, a preliminary test of Mancur Olson's collective action theory applied to the relationship between population concern and acceptance of population policy, and evidence from social demographic research on the demographic impact of 1 particular type of pronatalist policy. The population has increased by over 10 million people over the last 100 years with some 45% of the increase taking place after 1945. The years immediately following the war were characterized by high birthrates. Natural population growth, mainly in the early 1950s, was attenuated by the number of persons leaving the country. This lasted until about 1960. Since then there has been an immigration surplus, yet in the 1970s the annual population growth was smaller than in the early years. A marked decrease in fertility was responsible for this. The fertility decrease is caused mostly by the fact that the number of high parity births has decreased. Since 1970, the number of 1st births also has decreased. The 1st stage in Dutch population policy covers the period 1945 to the late 1960s. In the first 15 years after World War II, the annual marked increase in population numbers worried the government and several segments of the general population, but an explicit interest on the part of the government in steering (natural) population growth did not exist. The 2nd stage of population policy covers the period from 1970 to the early 1980s. A Royal Commission on Population was established in 1972, and the essential message of their 1974 report was the termination of natural growth as soon as possible. 2 years after the publication of the Commission's final report the government stated their position, that is, for the Netherlands to reach a stationary population. During the 1970s, the total fertility rate declined from 2.6 (1970) to 1.6 (1980). It was this decline, combined with the aging of the population, that led the Interdepartmental Commission on Population Policy (ICB) in 1982 to become alert to the forecast that a stationary population of 12-14 million might not be reached in the near future. In early 1983 the government formulated a new position. The government now considers as imperative a change in the fertility trend over the next several years. If this change fails to occur, they maintain that it may be necessary to implement pronatalist policy measures. A public opinion survey conducted in early 1983 showed that 22% of the respondents responded affirmatively to the question about whether or not they would like to have more children when a pronatalist policy is introduced, yet only 12% indicated a willingness to reconsider their fertility intention upon implementation of this type of policy (N=250). Only 1/3 indicated a willingness to change their fertility intention in a pronatalist way. A government that uses data obtained from public opinion surveys instead of information stemming from demographic policy research may be deceived in the long run. More attention needs to be paid to demographic policy research.
Attitudes towards demographic trends and population policy: a comparative multi-variate analysis of survey results from Italy and the Netherlands.
[Unpublished] 1987. Presented at the European Population Conference, 1987, Jyvaskyla, Finland, June 11-16, 1987. 18 p.The results of surveys of the attitudes toward current demographic trends and population policies conducted in Italy and Netherlands were compared. The Dutch and Italian surveys were comparable because their aims and parts of the questionnaire were similar, making it possible to analyze the common aspects. The Italian data were taken from a recent survey of the National Institute of Population Research. The survey population included all those of reproductive and marriageable age. 1503 interviews were conducted. The survey was initiated in November 1983 and terminated in February 1984. 952 people were interviewed in the Dutch survey, initiated in 1983. It comprised a representative 2-stage stratified random sample of the Dutch population aged 20-64 years. Both the Dutch and the Italians knew that the birthrate had been declining: 93% of the Italians and 63% of the Dutch. This trend was rated positively by 52% of the Italians and 46% of the Dutch. 52% of the Italian respondents and 58% of the Dutch wanted the population to remain stationary in the future. The 1st important difference was that in Italy the number of respondents who evaluated the birth decline negatively was about 2.5 times as high as in the Netherlands where there was a very high percentage of people who were indifferent to the problem--40% in the Netherlands, 10% in Italy. In Italy, 15% favored an increase in population size in contrast to 8% in the Netherlands. The respondents in both countries had clear ideas on the causes of the fertility decline, but the Italians generally had less set ideas than the Dutch. The economic crisis and the lack of confidence in the future were identified as the most important causes; in the Netherlands, women's work outside the home was considered to be more important than in Italy. In both countries, state intervention concerning fertility was rejected in the majority of cases--67% of the Italians and 81% of the Dutch. A 2-step elaboration was carried out for the identification of typologies of respondents. The Multiple Correspondence Analysis was carried out on 2 subjects: Knowledge and evaluation of current demographic trends; and the acceptance of population policies concerning fertility in relation to their perception of the falling birthrate. The analysis identified typologies of respondents with different levels of information and opinion towards population trends, and 4 clusters for Italy and 4 for the Netherlands were comparable. both the "pronatalist" and the antinatalist" respondents in both countries were, in general, well informed, and in both countries the "interventionists" were, in general, people with a low level of education.
[Methodological and organizational issues involved in the sample formation for surveys conducted simultaneously and after the 1985 population and housing census] Metodologichni i organizatsionni problemi pri formirane na izvadkite za reprezentativnite izsledvaniya, provedeni po vreme i sled obshchoto prebroyavane na naselenieto i zhilishchniya fond v NR Balgariya prez dekemvri 1985 godina.
NASELENIE. 1987; 5(3):62-7.The author discusses methodological and organizational issues concerning the sampling surveys conducted in conjunction with Bulgaria's 1985 census. These surveys were designed to enrich the data collected in the census and to assess public opinion on selected population-related issues. They covered topics such as fertility, migration, the labor force, towns and villages, and population health. (SUMMARY IN ENG AND RUS) (ANNOTATION)
Lancet. 1987 Aug 15; 2(8555):394.I have questioned 1000 people in 4 sample populations in China about their attitude to and knowledge of health information on smoking and about smoking habits. I then interviewed 50 people from this sample in greater detail. I also studied past smoking control efforts in China. Greater attention must be given to health education in schools and to young people. Smoking is common among schoolchildren and, and at least in Guangzhou, Canton, health education about smoking appeared limited. Of 250 schoolchildren only 40% reported exposure to health education. Smoking is banned in schools and the attitude seemed to be that there was therefore no need for education about the dangers. On the other hand, 70-80% of the whole sample seemed aware that smoking is harmful to health. Thus there is a need to increase not only the level of health education but also its sophistication, so that the gap between health knowledge and behavior can be closed. Attention must be given to women's attitudes to smoking. Generally I found a small proportion of female smokers (a study in Tianjin excepted), and the impression at interview is that smoking among women is considered impolite or "not done." Add this to the fact that women were more aware of the dangers of smoking (77% of 286 females vs 63% of 701 males, with 62% of women saying smoking was "very" harmful compared with 37% of men) and the potential for using women as health educators becomes apparent. The increasing understanding of passive smoking and the fact that women are usually the casualties might also be useful ammunition in this context. However, there may be competition for the attention of women--'Slim Kings' aimed specifically at the female market, have already been introduced into Hong Kong. 1 of the most important elements in any approach to smoking control must be an attempt to influence public policy. The history of government China is 1 of sporadic initiatives originally formulated by a joint committee involving several departments (public health, finance, agriculture, and light industry), but more recently only involving the Department of Public Health. Some action has been taken but a question mark remains over the strength of political will. Many factors operate against a reduction in cigarette production, which earned the state $6 million in 1984. Remarks by a representative of the State Tobacco Company suggest enthusiasm for increased production and more joint ventures with the multinational tobacco companies. Both British American Tobacco and Reynolds are now working in China, and the Canton Biannual Trade Fair and Grand Prix Tennis Tournament were sponsored by tobacco companies. I recently revisited China after 2 years and was struck by the volume and increasing sophistication of advertising and by the continuing cheapness of cigarettes which are now sold by increasing numbers of private entrepreneurs. Deregulation of the market and farmland may encourage increased tobacco production. These are all worrying developments for the "antismokers", who will need all the determination Sir John Crofton talks of to help them push forward a multipronged attack on the smoking pandemic and the vested interests that support it. (full text)
WASHINGTON POST. 1987 Feb 3; E1, E8.This newspaper feature story documents how the major U.S. television networks are breaking their self censorship of mentioning contraception and sexual responsibility in programs and advertisements. The first direct screening of word "condom" occurred on the series "Cagney and Lacey" in January 1988, followed by screening an image of a condom package on "Valerie" in February. At the same time, some stations are broadcasting tasteful 15-second ads for condoms. Phrases used in these ads included "for all the right reasons," and "I'll do a lot for love...but I'm not ready to die for it." It is likely that the threat of AIDS has prompted the revolutionary airing of the forbidden word during family viewing hours. The public response, particularly that of educators, has been largely favorable, although a Catholic spokesman complained that the ads encourage illicit sex purely to enlarge market share of condom markers. Five references to the value of sexual responsibility were cited on prime time shows in recent months. The vice president of CBS said that the network was trying to do anything that would help prevent AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. They have permitted no reference to practice of contraception in programming so far, even though characters are frequently shown in sexually explicit situations.
[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.
Lancet. 1987 Sep 5; 2(8558):575.Dr. Seaman (Aug. 8, p. 339) expresses his concern at Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities' advice to medical students not to undertake electives in certain African countries for fear of HIV infection. To this sad list must now be added the University of Aberdeen, which has included staff visiting these countries in respect of academic interests in their "very strong advice", and has produced a waiver for staff to sign. As Dr. Greenwood points out (June 13, p. 1374) the risk of acquiring AIDS during a trip to Africa as a result of emergency treatment with infected instruments or blood is remote; much more so than the health and travel risks to which students and staff are exposed in other elective activities. 2 issues seem clear to us--1 medical and the other academic. It is a contradiction of professional ethics that doctors (either those in the making or the finished article) should shrink from the sick. The academic judgment is more open to question. Many of us believe that by being members of a university we belong to a wider community of learning than is encompassed by our local campus, a community to which we owe an obligation as teachers. We feel a commonality of purpose and a duty to our colleagues in the universities of Africa. It is a remarkable coincidence that such controversial adviceshould have been issued simultaneously by 3 of the 4 Scottish medical schools. It is a pity that the Aberdeen advice was distributed during vacation time when few were available to benefit from the instruction and when an adequate response to it could not be organized. Perhaps the deans of the medical shools concerned should write to The Lancet to explain their stand and state how they expect members of their universities to respond to academic invitations from, for example, Uganda, Zambia, Kenya, Nigeria, and The Gambia, all countries with which we in this department have academic connections. To ask us to ostracize our colleagues in Africa is a serious matter. It marks a profound departure in university attitudes and policy. (full text)
INTERNATIONAL QUARTERLY OF COMMUNITY HEALTH EDUCATION. 1987; 7(3):201-10.Bangladesh is an example of a developing country where tobacco use and its subsequent social costs are increasing. The production of cigarettes in Bangladesh increased by 300% in the 1972-84 period. To assess attitudes toward the use of tobacco and reactions to various alternative governmental policies aimed at discouraging smoking, a cross-section of 772 adult residents of the capital city of Dhaka were interviewed. Respondents were selected from 5 distinct groups: university students, the informal working class, skilled blue collar workers, housewives, and the entrepreneurial-white collar management class. The results indicate that smokers and nonsmokers in Bangladesh differ in their awareness regarding the dangers of smoking. Both smokers and nonsmokers agreed that the governments should warn people of the dangers associated with tobacco use and that high schools should educate young people about such health hazards, although nonsmokers felt more strongly about these issues than smokers. Nonsmokers were also significantly more likely than smokers to support the idea of a ban on cigarette production. Both groups expressed agreement with the notion that women should not smoke during pregnancy. In general, however, smokers were less likely than nonsmokers to be aware of the health hazards associated with tobacco use. Limitations on public places where smoking would be allowed were accepted as a viable government policy by most respondents. Neither group advocated an increase in cigarette production as a means of increasing government revenues. It is hoped that market pressures in the form of a reduced demand for tobacco products, social pressure resulting from nonacceptance of smoking in public places, and government intervention in the form of a ban on the advertising of tobacco products will force the tobacco companies to reallocate their resources.
[Unpublished] 1973 Aug. Paper presented at Annual Meeting, American Sociological Assn., New York City, Aug 27-30 1973. 11 p.Add to my documents.
CLINICS IN OBSTETRICS AND GYNAECOLOGY. 1986 Mar; 13(1):1-17.Attention is directed to preindustrial and transitional societies to illustrate the great variety of techniques and conditions under which abortion is practiced. The discussion covers changes in abortion status and attitudes through time as well as past and current attitudes in the US. Abortion traditionally has been performed under 2 primary sets of circumstances: the mother (or couple) does not want the pregnancy; or, for a variety of reasons, the pregnancy is deemed unacceptable by the given society, extended family, or a specific family member, usually the husband. Most accounts of abortion deal with its voluntary practice, revealing often the lengths to which women will go to control their fertility in the absence of contraception. Yet, examples exist from both preindustrial and modern societies where the decision to have an abortion is not made by the woman alone but is influenced either wholly or in part by political or cultural factors. Women who want an abortion either have performed the procedures themselves or have sought help from community practitioners, friends, or relative. Abortion techniques are highly varied and include abortifacients, magic, mechanical methods (such as instrumentation, constriction, and insertion of foreign objects into the uterus), heat applied externally, strenuous physical activity, jolts to the body, and starvation. Although abortion is extensively and rather openly practiced in many primitive societies, few groups give it unqualified approval. Cross-culturally, the most prevalent conditions for either approving of or imposing abortion include unmarried status of the mother, adultery, ambiguous paternity, mother's poor health, lactation of the mother, consent of the father, death of the father, rape, incest, and other varieties of illegal union. In Western civilization attitdues vary and have been changing in most cases. As of mid-1982, 10% of the world's population lived in countries where abortion was prohibited under all circumstances and 18% in countries where it was permitted only to save the mother's life. Close to 2/3 of the countries in Latin America, most countries in Africa, most Muslim Countries in Asia, and the 5 European countries of Belgium, Ireland, Malta, Portugal, and Spain belong in these 2 categories. An additional 8% lived in countries that permitted abortion under broad medical grounds. The remaining 64% of the world's population were governed by statutes that either allowed abortion on broad social grounds, such as unmarried status of the mother and financial problems, or permitted it on demand (usually within the 1st trimester). Recent estimates of the number of abortions have ranged up to 55 million, corresponding to an abortion rate of 70/1000 women of reproductive age and to an abortion ratio of 300/1000 known pregnancies. The US liberalized its abortion policy and then subsequently added restrictions at federal, state or local levels. Abortion is 1 of the most divisive issues in the US. Opinions range from disapproval under all circumstances, even to save the mother's life, to approval for any reason, i.e., on demand.
[Medico-social prevention, fertility, and development] Prevention medico-sociale, fecondite et developpement.
REVUE TUNISIENNE DE SCIENCES SOCIALES. 1986; 23(84-87):423-510.The author reports on a sample survey of 738 Tunisians, conducted to investigate the impact of preventive and social medicine on health and fertility. The sample population, drawn from the 1975 census, is described. Attention is given to the role played by information sources, particularly mass media, in preventive medicine, alcoholism and the prevention of traffic accidents, and public opinion concerning preventive medicine. Attitudes toward family planning are mentioned in the final section, and a copy of the questionnaire used is included. (ANNOTATION)
[Natality and family models in Council of Europe countries and in France] Natalite et modeles familiaux dans les pays du Conseil de l'Europe et en France.
REVUE FRANCAISE DES AFFAIRES SOCIALES. 1987 Jan-Mar; 41(1):113-30.The author compares public opinion on fertility and family issues in selected European countries using responses to a 1986 opinion survey conducted for the Council of Europe. Consideration is given to attitudes concerning fertility levels and family size, fertility decline, family policies, employed women and family life, family formation, marriage, cohabitation, and divorce. Discrepancies between attitudes and observed behavior are noted; similarities in opinion among the countries are described in terms of family and fertility norms. In addition to the tables of comparative data, several tables contain data for France alone.