Views of midwives and gynecologists on legal abortion--a population-based study

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2005 Jan;84(1):58-64. doi: 10.1111/j.0001-6349.2005.00695.x.


Background: Little is known about staffs' attitudes and experiences of legal abortion. The aim of this study was to gain knowledge about the views of Swedish midwives and gynecologists on legal abortion. Another aim was to investigate differences between professions and possible impacting factors on these views.

Methods: A questionnaire was sent to a random sample of 258 midwives and 269 gynecologists. The response rate was 84%.

Results: The vast majority of all respondents supported the legislation on induced abortion. A great majority also believed that the woman alone should make the decision, and that abortion was not used as a form of contraception. Generally, there were smaller differences among views of female and male gynecologists than among views of female gynecologists and female midwives. For example, female midwives disagreed more than female gynecologists with the statement: 'Legal abortion should be permitted even if the woman has felt fetal movements'. The most impacting factors on views were the extent to which the staffs had been working with legal abortion, especially during the last year, and type of profession. Views were, however, not influenced by private experiences of legal abortion.

Conclusions: The present study highlights that midwives and gynecologists overwhelmingly agree that legal abortion should be allowed. The more experience of working with legal abortion, especially current experience, the less restrictive gynecologists and midwives are in their views. Compared with previous studies, staffs have become more liberal in their attitudes toward abortion and the relevant legislation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Legal*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Female
  • Gynecology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwifery*
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Sampling Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden