Physicians worry about the consequences of publicly supporting abortion

In a new study published in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, CORE researchers Abby Cutler, Laura Swan, Madison Lands, Nicholas Schmuhl and Jenny Higgins find that many physicians worry about the consequences of publicly supporting abortion.

The team surveyed physicians at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health about their knowledge, attitudes, and referral practices regarding abortion care. Among those expressing support for abortion, researchers analyzed perceived concerns about a strong public stance.

More than a quarter (27%) of physicians surveyed felt very or extremely concerned that publicly supporting abortion would lead to harassment or harm. Physicians also worried that taking a strong public stance on abortion would alienate patients (22%) and coworkers (17%).

The findings carry important public health implications. Physicians’ concerns and perceived consequences of publicly supporting abortion may render them less likely or willing to refer patients for needed abortion care, participate in abortion care or weigh in on policy.

Reducing physician discomfort with publicly supporting abortion may be a necessary strategy to ensure abortion is accessible for all patients who may need it. Most physicians care for patients who may need an abortion.

Read the article here.