16 April 2012

Spain: University students’ attitudes towards Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy

An evaluation of the future professional trends was performed by analysing the attitudes of university students to the Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy (VIP). From Legal Medicine (Tokyo).

An anonymous questionnaire was distributed to 300 students (Medicine, Nursing and Law) of the University of Santiago de Compostela, with questions on their personal beliefs, opinion on the law and intention to participate in VIP.

Of the 245 respondents (response rate 82%), 66.5% were pro-abortion and their attitudes towards VIP were consistent with their opinion on the beginning of life and with the ethical arguments related to the fetus and the mother. No differences were found with age, sex or degree. The students showed to be well informed on the VIP law, and the majority of them considered unsuitable termination of pregnancy in minors without parental consent.

Students’ intentions to take part in abortion provision were influenced by their views on abortion, level of participation and circumstances of pregnancy. Although the majority of participants would be willing to perform VIP in situations that affect fetus and mother’s life or health (87-66%), their intentions clearly diminished in other situations, such as abortion on demand (17%).

The authors conclude that these data suggest that conscientious objection of health professionals can even increase with the new policy, a fact that might affect VIP availability. It is important to stress the need of ethical training to help in the solution of conflicts between patient and health professional values.

Department of Pathology and Forensic Sciences, University of Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

University students’ attitudes towards Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy. Rodríguez-Calvo MS, Martínez-Silva IM, Soto JL, Concheiro L, Muñoz-Barús JI. Legal Medicine (Tokyo). 2012 Apr 10. [Epub ahead of print]