Attitudes and practice of gynaecologists towards abortion in Northern Ireland

J Obstet Gynaecol. 2011;31(1):50-3. doi: 10.3109/01443615.2010.522273.


Women from Northern Ireland (NI) have to travel to Britain and pay for their terminations as the Abortion Act (1967) does not apply in that part of the UK. This paper analyses the attitudes of gynaecologists. A questionnaire was posted in 2009 to all NHS gynaecologists in NI (43). One had retired. After three mailings, 37 replied; a response rate of 88% (37.42). We found that of these, 21 (57%) favoured a liberalisation of the law in NI. If all the non-responders were against liberalisation, then still half (21/42) would be in favour. A total of 35% (13/37) wanted unrestricted access in the 1st trimester, a more liberal position than allowed by the current law in Great Britain. A total of 29 (78%) were in favour of free abortions for women from NI, as is largely the case in England and Wales. A total of 19 (51%) were in favour of the abortion charities being licensed to carry out legal abortions in Northern Ireland but 38% were opposed to this proposal.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple
  • Abortion, Legal* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Abortion, Legal* / psychology
  • Abortion, Legal* / trends
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Female
  • Gynecology*
  • HIV Infections
  • Humans
  • Northern Ireland
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Rape
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Travel
  • United Kingdom
  • Women's Rights