Provision of safe, voluntary, termination of pregnancy (TOP) in South Africa is challenged by an insufficient number of TOP-trained clinicians. Medical students' understanding of TOP legality and their attitudes toward TOP training are indicators for future service provision. We administered a 63-item questionnaire to explore these issues at the University of Cape Town and Walter Sisulu University. Ordinary least squares regression assessed predictors of TOP legislation knowledge and training attitudes.
Results: Of 1308 students, 95% knew that TOP was legal in South Africa, but few (27%) understood the specific provisions of the legislation beyond 13 weeks' gestation. Sixty-three percent desired more information about TOP. In multivariate models, female, white and sexually experienced students and students more advanced in school had better legislation knowledge (all p < .01). Attending religious services regularly (p < .01) was associated with lack of support for TOP training, whereas being in a relationship (p < .01) was associated with support for TOP training.