Volume 29, Issue 5

Attitudes of General Practitioners in Northern Ireland Toward Abortion and Family Planning

A survey of the attitudes and practices of general practitioners in Northern Ireland regarding contraception and abortion was carried out in 1994 and 1995 with a randomized sample of 154 physicians. The vast majority of doctors who received requests for contraceptives from their patients fulfilled those requests (94%). Overall, 13% of the doctors said a married patient had requested an abortion in the past three months, and 34% had had a similar request from an unmarried patient. Two-thirds thought that a woman together with her physician should decide whether to terminate a pregnancy, 19% did not think the choice should be left with the woman and her physician and 13% were undecided. Sixty-six percent believed that a joint strategy of improving contraceptive use and reducing premarital intercourse is the best approach for preventing unwanted pregnancy among teenagers, 21% specified only improving contraceptive use and 13% indicated only reducing premarital intercourse.

(Family Planning Perspectives, 29:234-236, 1997)

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Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health