Future Health Providers’ Willingness to Provide Abortion Services Following Decriminalisation of Abortion in Chile: A Cross-Sectional Survey
M.Antonia Biggs, Finley Baba, Lidia Casas Becerra, Sara Victoria Correa, Alejandra Ramm, Daniel Grossman
To assess Chilean medical and midwifery students’ attitudes and willingness to become trained to provide abortion care, shortly after abortion was decriminalised in 2017.
We fielded a cross-sectional, web-based survey of medical and midwifery students. We used generalised estimating equations to assess differences by type of university and degree sought.
We recruited students from a combination of seven secular, religiously-affiliated, public and private universities that offer midwifery or medical degrees with a specialisation in obstetrics and gynaecology, located in Santiago, Chile.
Students seeking medical or midwifery degrees at one of seven universities were eligible to participate. We distributed the survey link to medical and midwifery students at these seven universities; 459 eligible students opened the survey link and 377 students completed the survey.Primary and secondary outcomesIntentions to become trained to provide abortion services was our primary outcome of interest. Secondary outcomes included moral views and concerns about abortion provision.resultsMost students intend to become trained to provide abortion services (69%), 20% reported that they will not provide an abortion under any circumstance, half (50%) had one or more concern about abortion provision and 16% agreed/strongly agreed that providing abortions is morally wrong. Most believed that their university should train medical and midwifery students to provide abortion services (70%–79%). Secular university students reported higher intentions to provide abortion services (beta 0.47, 95% CI: 0.31 to 0.63), more favourable views (beta 0.52, CI: 0.32 to 0.72) and were less likley to report concerns about abortion provision (adjusted OR 0.47, CI: 0.23 to 0.95) than students from religious universities.
Medical and midwifery students are interested in becoming trained to provide abortion services and believe their university should provide this training. Integrating high-quality training in abortion care into medical and midwifery programmes will be critical to ensuring that women receive timely, non-judgemental and quality abortion care.
"Obviously there is a conflict between confidentiality and what you are required to do by law”: Chilean university faculty and student perspectives on reporting unlawful abortions
M.Antonia Biggs, Lidia Casas Becerra, Sara Victoria Correa, Finley Baba, Alejandra Ramm
Background and objectives
While Chile recently decriminalized abortion in cases of rape, lethal fetal anomaly, and to save a woman's life, most abortions are still criminalized. We assessed medical and midwifery school faculty and students' views on punishing and reporting people involved in unlawful abortion, and their understanding of their obligation to protect patient confidentiality and to report unlawful abortions.
We interviewed 30 medical and midwifery school clinician faculty from seven public, private, secular and Catholic-affiliated universities, all located in the metropolitan region of Santiago, Chile. Medical (n = 239) and midwifery (n = 79) students at these same seven universities completed an online survey. We coded faculty interview transcripts, and analyzed codes related to maintaining patient confidentiality and reporting unlawful abortion. We summarized student views related to reporting and imprisoning people involved in unlawful abortion, and used general estimating equation (GEE) models to identify the factors associated with support for criminalization.
Faculty and students generally did not support reporting or imprisoning anyone involved in an unlawful abortion and believed that protecting patient information takes precedence over reporting. Yet, faculty described pressures to report in the public sector and several cases where they or their colleagues were involved in reports. Most students somewhat/strongly agreed (78%) that patient information concerning an unlawful abortion should be kept confidential; 35% strongly/somewhat agreed that a clinician involved in an unlawful surgical abortion should be imprisoned, and 18% agreed that the woman involved should be imprisoned, with students from secular universities being significantly less likely to support reporting and punishing people involved in unlawful abortion, than students from Catholic universities.
There is a need to clarify clinicians' ethical obligations in abortion care, in particular in Catholic universities, so that they can ensure that their patients have access to high quality confidential health care services.
Medical and midwifery students’ views on the use of conscientious objection in abortion care, following legal reform in Chile: a cross-sectional study
M.Antonia Biggs, Lidia Casas Becerra, Finley Baba, Alejandra Ramm, Sara Victoria Correa
In August 2017, Chile lifted its complete ban on abortion by permitting abortion in three limited circumstances: 1) to save a woman’s life, 2) lethal fetal anomaly, and 3) rape. The new law allows regulated use of conscientious objection (CO) in abortion care, including allowing institutions to register as objectors. This study assesses medical and midwifery students’ support for CO, following legal reform.
From October 2017 to May 2018, we surveyed medical and midwifery students from seven universities located in Santiago, Chile. Universities included 4 secular (2 public and 2 private) and 3 private religiously-affiliated universities; all offering medical degrees with a specialization in obstetrics and gynecology (ob-gyn) and five offering midwifery degrees. We used generalized estimating equations (GEE) to identify characteristics associated with student support for CO, intentions to use CO to refuse to care for someone seeking abortion, and support for CO at the institutional level.
333 of the 413 eligible students who opened the survey, completed the questions on conscientious objection; 26% were seeking medical degrees with an ob-gyn specialty, 25% were seeking midwifery degrees, and 49% were seeking medical degrees and had not yet decided their specialty. While nearly all endorse requirements for conscientious objecting clinicians to inform (92%) and refer (91%) abortion-seeking patients, a minority (18%) would personally use conscientious objection to avoid caring for a patient seeking abortion (12% secular and 39% religious university students). About half of religious-university students (52%) and one-fifth of secular-university (20%) students support objections at the institutional level.
Most students support the regulated use of CO which preserves patients’ access to abortion care. Religious-university student views on the use of conscientious objection in abortion care are discordant with those of their institutions which currently support institutional-level objections.
Medical and midwifery student attitudes toward moral acceptability and legality of abortion, following decriminalization of abortion in Chile
Finley Baba, M.Antonia Biggs, Lidia Casas Becerra, Sara Victoria Correa, Alejandra Ramm
Soon after Chile decriminalized abortion under three limited circumstances in 2017, we assessed medical and midwifery students’ attitudes about abortion morality and legality when compared to national opinions.
We administered an anonymous, online survey to medical and midwifery students from seven secular and religiously-affiliated universities in Santiago, Chile. We compared student responses to a nationally representative public opinion survey.
Main outcome measures
We examined three main outcomes related to abortion attitudes: (1) moral acceptability of abortion and legal support for abortion in (2) one or (3) all listed circumstances. We used general estimating equations to examine whether university type, field of study, and other student characteristics are associated with each outcome and compared student views toward abortion legality with those of the general public.
Among the 369 student respondents, most agreed that abortion can be a good thing for some women in some situations (82%). When compared to the general public, a larger proportion of students supported decriminalizing abortion in at least one (83% and 97%, respectively) or all (17% and 51%, respectively) seven listed circumstances. While secular university students held significantly more favorable views about abortion morality and legality than students from religiously-affiliated universities, the majority of students from both university types supported abortion in the three cases in which it was recently decriminalized.
Medical and midwifery students from not only secular but also religiously-affiliated universities are very supportive of the recent decriminalization of abortion, which presents training opportunities for both types of universities.