British gynaecologists' attitudes in 2008 to the provision of legal abortion


Savage, W. and Francome, C. 2011. British gynaecologists' attitudes in 2008 to the provision of legal abortion. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 31 (4), pp. 322-326.
TitleBritish gynaecologists' attitudes in 2008 to the provision of legal abortion
AuthorsSavage, W. and Francome, C.

In 2008, we investigated the attitudes and practice of British consultant gynaecologists towards induced abortion, and made comparisons with our similar survey in 1989. A random sample of one in six (217) was selected from the register of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). The response to the postal questionnaire was 70% (152). Satisfaction with the way the 1967 Abortion Act is operating was expressed by 59% (76% in 1989) and an upper limit of 24 weeks was supported by 50% (77% in 1989). Abortion after 20 weeks was approved to protect health by 92%; after rape by 60% and for serious fetal handicap by 87%. A change in the regulations to require the signature of only one doctor (rather than two) to certify the need for abortion was supported by 65%. Only a minority (41%) provided 2nd trimester abortion in person; 61% would separate abortion provision from general gynaecology; 57% suggested there should be separate abortion units for gestations over 13 weeks and 56% felt that fertility control should become be a sub-specialty. Satisfaction with the Abortion Act 1967 has decreased during the last 20 years. Gynaecologists' attitudes to the indications for 2nd trimester abortion remain wide, with clear implications for women seeking abortion. The service to women would be improved if abortion on request was permitted in the 1st trimester and after only one medical signature in the 2nd trimester. Our view is that the decision to end a pregnancy should be made by the woman and that abortion should be decriminalised.

PublisherInforma Healthcare
JournalJournal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Publication dates
PrintMay 2011
Publication process dates
Deposited23 May 2011
Output statusPublished
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
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