[Attitudes of medical students towards abortion]

Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2011 Sep 20;131(18):1768-71. doi: 10.4045/tidsskr.10.1161.
[Article in Norwegian]


Background: It is not known whether the attitudes of Norwegian medical students towards abortion change in the course of their studies, or whether the attitudes differ among the four Norwegian medical schools. We have investigated attitudes towards abortion and the right to conscientious objection among medical students early and late in their studies at the four medical schools. Student satisfaction with the teaching on abortion was also surveyed.

Material and methods: A questionnaire survey was carried out among medical students at the four Norwegian medical schools, first year and fourth/fifth year students respectively.

Results: 514 students (58.3 % of the students in the chosen classes) responded. 87.5 % approved of abortion on demand. The students at NTNU were the most liberal (93.5 %). Fourth/fifth year students were more liberal than first year students (91.3 % vs. 84.7 %, p = 0.027). 27.3 % would want to exercise their right to conscientious objection. 41.5 % had been present at a surgical abortion. Of those who had not been present at a surgical abortion, 84.1 % would want to see an abortion being carried out if given the opportunity. 29 % agreed that the teaching did not adequately cover the ethical aspects of abortion.

Interpretation: Abortion on demand has wide approval among Norwegian medical students. However, many students would consider exercising their right to conscientious objection. More fourth/fifth year students than first year students approved of abortion.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / education
  • Abortion, Induced / psychology*
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Norway
  • Pregnancy
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires