WMJ Vol 121 Issue 3: Difficult Questions With Many Gray Areas: Nuanced Abortion Attitudes Among Physicians
Introduction: Abortion is a polarizing social and medical issue, even among physicians. Though the public may expect physicians to hold purely scientific attitudes about abortion, their attitudes and behaviors are just as strongly informed by social and political factors as the public’s. In a recent survey study of physicians at an academic medical center about their abortion attitudes, most reported strong support for abortion access. However, more were unwilling to consult in abortion-related cases, and many perceived little or no professional connection to abortion and were reticent to publicly advocate for their position.
Methods: In order to investigate the nuances in physicians’ abortion attitudes, we analyzed the open-ended, qualitative responses provided by physicians at the end of a quantitative survey using modified concept mapping procedures and theme generation.
Results: Two hundred twenty-two open-ended responses resulted in 487 data units. We categorized respondents’ comments into 2 main groups: attempts to depersonalize, or distance oneself, from abortion and expressions of nuance or ambivalence about abortion. Ambivalence and nuance in abortion attitudes centered around multiple factors that varied from individual to structural.
Conclusions: Our findings support previous literature suggesting that physicians’ abortion attitudes are not binary and add that nuanced attitudes may be perceived as unwelcome. Acknowledging ambivalence and addressing physicians’ tendency to depersonalize abortion could result in more honest, open, and nuanced discourse and contribute to addressing structural issues that result in poor health outcomes, achieving broader reproductive justice goals, and greater access to abortion services.
The target audience for this journal-based activity is healthcare providers caring for the people and communities of Wisconsin and beyond.
As a result of this journal-based activity, learners, as members of the healthcare team, will be able to:
- Summarize previously published research on physician attitudes regarding abortion discussed in the article.
- Elaborate on depersonalizing, ambivalence, and nuances in abortion attitudes discovered through analysis of qualitative data from a survey study of physicians at an academic medical center about their abortion attitudes.
- Communicate about abortion and reproductive justice with members of the healthcare team, patients, and key stakeholders to improved access to care, clinical outcomes, and patient satisfaction.
It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin–Madison Interprofessional Continuing Education Partnership (ICEP) to identify, mitigate and disclose all relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies* held by the speakers/presenters, authors, planners, and other persons who may influence content of this accredited continuing education (CE). In addition, speakers, presenters and authors must disclose any planned discussion of unlabeled/unapproved uses of drugs or devices during their presentation.
For this accredited continuing education activity all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated and detailed disclosures are listed below.
|Name of Individual||Individual's Role in Activity|
Financial Relationship Disclosure
|Shezad Baloch||Accreditation Specialist||No relevant relationships with ineligible companies to disclose||No|
|Madelyne Z Greene, PhD||Author||No relevant relationships with ineligible companies to disclose||No|
|Nicholas B Schmuhl, PhD||Author||No relevant relationships with ineligible companies to disclose||No|
|Daniel L Pellicer, MD:||Author||No relevant relationships with ineligible companies to disclose||No|
|Cynthie Wautlet, MD||Author||No relevant relationships with ineligible companies to disclose||No|
|Donald Weber, MD||Reviewer||No relevant relationships with ineligible companies to disclose||No|
|Jessica Dalby, MD||Reviewer||No relevant relationships with ineligible companies to disclose||No|
|Sarina B. Schrager, MD||Editor||No relevant relationships with ineligible companies to disclose||No|
*Ineligible companies are those whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on, patients.
The ACCME does not consider providers of clinical services directly to patients to be ineligible companies.
|In support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by the University of Wisconsin–Madison ICEP and the Wisconsin Medical Journal. The University of Wisconsin–Madison ICEP is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.|
Credit Designation Statements
American Medical Association (AMA)
The University of Wisconsin–Madison ICEP designates this journal-based CE activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
The University of Wisconsin–Madison ICEP designates this journal-based CE activity for a maximum of 1.0 ANCC contact hour.
American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)
|The University of Wisconsin–Madison ICEP has been authorized by the American Academy of PAs (AAPA) to award AAPA Category 1 CME credit for activities planned in accordance with AAPA CME Criteria. This activity is designated for 1.0 AAPA Category 1 CME credits. Approval is valid until 6/1/2024. PAs should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation.|
Continuing Education Units
The University of Wisconsin–Madison ICEP, as a member of the University Professional & Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), authorizes this program for 0.1 continuing education units (CEUs) or 1 hour.
- 1.00 AAPA Category 1 CME
- 1.00 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
- 1.00 ANCC Contact Hours
- 1.00 University of Wisconsin–Madison Continuing Education Hours
- 1.00 Approved for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
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