Limits...
Opinions on conscientious objection to induced abortion among Finnish medical and nursing students and professionals.

Nieminen P, Lappalainen S, Ristimäki P, Myllykangas M, Mustonen AM - BMC Med Ethics (2015)

Bottom Line: Among the medical respondents, the men were more willing to grant CO also in case of a life-threatening emergency of the pregnant woman.While the respondents mostly seemed to consider the continuation of adequate services important if CO is introduced, the viewpoint was often focused on the staff and surgical abortion procedure instead of the patients.The issue proved to be complex, which should be taken into consideration for legislation.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Eastern Finland, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, Institute of Biomedicine/Anatomy, P.O. Box 1627, FI-70211, Kuopio, Finland. petteri.nieminen@uef.fi.

ABSTRACT

Background: Conscientious objection (CO) to participating in induced abortion is not present in the Finnish health care system or legislation unlike in many other European countries.

Methods: We conducted a questionnaire survey with the 1(st)- and the last-year medical and nursing students and professionals (548 respondents; response rate 66-100%) including several aspects of the abortion process and their relation to CO in 2013.

Results: The male medical respondents chose later time points of pregnancy than the nursing respondents when considering when the embryo/fetus "becomes a person". Of all respondents, 3.5-14.1% expressed a personal wish to CO. The medical professionals supported the right to CO more often (34.2%) than the nursing professionals (21.4%), while ≥62.4% could work with someone expressing CO. Yet ≥57.9% of the respondents anticipated social problems at work communities caused by CO. Most respondents considered self-reported religious/ethical conviction to be adequate for CO but, at the same time, 30.1-50.7% considered that no conviction would be sufficient. The respondents most commonly included the medical doctor conducting surgical or medical abortion to be eligible to CO. The nursing respondents considered that vacuum suction would be a better justification for CO than medical abortion. The indications most commonly included to potential CO were second-trimester abortions and social reasons. Among the medical respondents, the men were more willing to grant CO also in case of a life-threatening emergency of the pregnant woman.

Conclusions: While the respondents mostly seemed to consider the continuation of adequate services important if CO is introduced, the viewpoint was often focused on the staff and surgical abortion procedure instead of the patients. The issue proved to be complex, which should be taken into consideration for legislation.

No MeSH data available.


The opinions of the respondents on the question, at which gestational age an embryo/fetus becomes a person. The distribution of the male and female medical respondents (pooled according to gender) differs at p = 0.004 and the answers of the pooled nursing respondents differ from those of the medical respondents at p < 10−5 (Fisher’s exact test). Regarding the nursing respondents, no analysis between sexes was feasible due to the small number of men.
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Fig1: The opinions of the respondents on the question, at which gestational age an embryo/fetus becomes a person. The distribution of the male and female medical respondents (pooled according to gender) differs at p = 0.004 and the answers of the pooled nursing respondents differ from those of the medical respondents at p < 10−5 (Fisher’s exact test). Regarding the nursing respondents, no analysis between sexes was feasible due to the small number of men.

Mentions: Opinions on the definition of induced abortion varied especially among the 1st-year students. The medical students assessed more often than the nursing students that intrauterine devices (IUD; 15.1 vs. 5.5%) and emergency contraception (34.4 vs. 19.8%) could also be classified as induced abortion. The difference about the status of IUD also persisted in the later-stage medical and nursing students (26.8 vs. 7.1%) but disappeared among the professionals. Among those who considered IUD a form of induced abortion, 28.6% of the nurses vs. 15.4% of the medical professionals would have wanted to gain CO and 42.9 vs. 30.8% were willing to grant CO to others. There were no differences compared to those who did not interpret IUD as abortion or between the professions. Regarding the timeline of “becoming a person” (“at which gestational age does an embryo/fetus become a person?” in the questionnaire), the nursing respondents mostly chose gestational weeks 0–24. Among the medical respondents, the women displayed two peaks, immediately at fertilization and between gestational weeks 11–24, while the opinions of the men were partly different (Fisher’s exact test, p = 0.004; Figure 1). A major part of them considered gestational weeks 11–30 to be crucial in this aspect, but 22–50% considered birth to be the determining point of time.Figure 1


Opinions on conscientious objection to induced abortion among Finnish medical and nursing students and professionals.

Nieminen P, Lappalainen S, Ristimäki P, Myllykangas M, Mustonen AM - BMC Med Ethics (2015)

The opinions of the respondents on the question, at which gestational age an embryo/fetus becomes a person. The distribution of the male and female medical respondents (pooled according to gender) differs at p = 0.004 and the answers of the pooled nursing respondents differ from those of the medical respondents at p < 10−5 (Fisher’s exact test). Regarding the nursing respondents, no analysis between sexes was feasible due to the small number of men.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4376492&req=5

Fig1: The opinions of the respondents on the question, at which gestational age an embryo/fetus becomes a person. The distribution of the male and female medical respondents (pooled according to gender) differs at p = 0.004 and the answers of the pooled nursing respondents differ from those of the medical respondents at p < 10−5 (Fisher’s exact test). Regarding the nursing respondents, no analysis between sexes was feasible due to the small number of men.
Mentions: Opinions on the definition of induced abortion varied especially among the 1st-year students. The medical students assessed more often than the nursing students that intrauterine devices (IUD; 15.1 vs. 5.5%) and emergency contraception (34.4 vs. 19.8%) could also be classified as induced abortion. The difference about the status of IUD also persisted in the later-stage medical and nursing students (26.8 vs. 7.1%) but disappeared among the professionals. Among those who considered IUD a form of induced abortion, 28.6% of the nurses vs. 15.4% of the medical professionals would have wanted to gain CO and 42.9 vs. 30.8% were willing to grant CO to others. There were no differences compared to those who did not interpret IUD as abortion or between the professions. Regarding the timeline of “becoming a person” (“at which gestational age does an embryo/fetus become a person?” in the questionnaire), the nursing respondents mostly chose gestational weeks 0–24. Among the medical respondents, the women displayed two peaks, immediately at fertilization and between gestational weeks 11–24, while the opinions of the men were partly different (Fisher’s exact test, p = 0.004; Figure 1). A major part of them considered gestational weeks 11–30 to be crucial in this aspect, but 22–50% considered birth to be the determining point of time.Figure 1

Bottom Line: Among the medical respondents, the men were more willing to grant CO also in case of a life-threatening emergency of the pregnant woman.While the respondents mostly seemed to consider the continuation of adequate services important if CO is introduced, the viewpoint was often focused on the staff and surgical abortion procedure instead of the patients.The issue proved to be complex, which should be taken into consideration for legislation.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Eastern Finland, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, Institute of Biomedicine/Anatomy, P.O. Box 1627, FI-70211, Kuopio, Finland. petteri.nieminen@uef.fi.

ABSTRACT

Background: Conscientious objection (CO) to participating in induced abortion is not present in the Finnish health care system or legislation unlike in many other European countries.

Methods: We conducted a questionnaire survey with the 1(st)- and the last-year medical and nursing students and professionals (548 respondents; response rate 66-100%) including several aspects of the abortion process and their relation to CO in 2013.

Results: The male medical respondents chose later time points of pregnancy than the nursing respondents when considering when the embryo/fetus "becomes a person". Of all respondents, 3.5-14.1% expressed a personal wish to CO. The medical professionals supported the right to CO more often (34.2%) than the nursing professionals (21.4%), while ≥62.4% could work with someone expressing CO. Yet ≥57.9% of the respondents anticipated social problems at work communities caused by CO. Most respondents considered self-reported religious/ethical conviction to be adequate for CO but, at the same time, 30.1-50.7% considered that no conviction would be sufficient. The respondents most commonly included the medical doctor conducting surgical or medical abortion to be eligible to CO. The nursing respondents considered that vacuum suction would be a better justification for CO than medical abortion. The indications most commonly included to potential CO were second-trimester abortions and social reasons. Among the medical respondents, the men were more willing to grant CO also in case of a life-threatening emergency of the pregnant woman.

Conclusions: While the respondents mostly seemed to consider the continuation of adequate services important if CO is introduced, the viewpoint was often focused on the staff and surgical abortion procedure instead of the patients. The issue proved to be complex, which should be taken into consideration for legislation.

No MeSH data available.