Wendy Savage and Colin Francome, Middlesex University, United Kingdom
In 2008 questionnaires were sent to a one in six random sample of British gynaecologists which asked about their attitudes and practice.. After three mailings the response rate was 70%. The major findings were that there was less satisfaction about the way the 1967 Abortion Act operated than 20 years before and support for less bureaucracy.
Support for a limit of 24 weeks was lower than 20 years before with only half accepting this limit in 2008 compared with two thirds accepting 24 weeks or above in 1989. A majority of consultants were no longer involved in providing second trimester abortions which has implications for training. 60% thought abortion should be separated from general gynaecology and over half thought that there should be separate abortion units for gestation over 13 weeks and that fertility control (abortion sterilization and contraception) should be a sub-specialty, an increase since 1989.
The range of attitudes remains wide with clear implications for women seeking abortion. We conclude that streamlining the service and decriminalising abortion would reduce the number of later abortions.
Attitudes and practice of gynaecologists towards abortion in Northern Ireland
Women from Northern Ireland have to travel to Britain and pay for their terminations as the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply in Northern Ireland (NI). This article analyses the attitudes of gynaecologists. The response rate was nearly ninety per cent of the 42 practicing in the NHS in NI. We found that a clear majority favored a liberalization of the law in Northern Ireland. Over one in three wanted unrestricted access in the first trimester which is a more liberal position than the British law.
Almost five out of six gynaecologists were in favor of free abortions for Irish women as is largely the case in England and Wales. Furthermore a majority were in favor of the abortion charities being licensed to carry out legal abortions in Northern Ireland