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Research project

Medical and Midwifery Faculty and Students’ Support for Abortion in Chile

In 2017, Chile decriminalized abortion in three narrow circumstances. Now people can legally access abortion in cases of rape, lethal fetal anomaly, and to preserve the pregnant person’s life.

This study is assessing whether medical and midwifery school faculty in Chile welcome or are prepared for this legal change. A better understanding of their attitudes about and willingness to provide abortion is critical to identifying reproductive health training needs and the barriers that need to be overcome now that abortion can be legally practiced in limited circumstances in Chile.

In collaboration with researchers in Chile, we conducted a mixed-methods study. It includes 30 in-depth qualitative interviews with midwifery and medical school faculty about whether and how abortion is integrated in their curriculum, as well as their willingness to teach abortion to their students, to provide abortion services, their views about the use of conscientious objection in abortion care, and their views and experiences punishing and reporting people involved in unlawful abortion.

We also surveyed over 300 medical and midwifery students from seven universities located in the metropolitan region of Santiago. The survey assessed students’ willingness to provide abortion, their attitudes about liberalizing Chile’s abortion law, and their attitudes towards conscientious objection, and punishing or reporting people involved in unlawful abortion.

Non-ANSIRH collaborators include Lidia Casas, the University of Diego Portales (UDP), School of Law in Santiago Chile, Alejandra Ramm, Sociologist, at the University of Valparaiso, School of Sociology, Valparaiso, Chile and Sara Correa, at UDP’s School of Sociology.

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ANSIRH is a program within the UCSF Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health and is a part of UCSF's Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences.

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