Abortion is restricted in Jamaica under the Offences Against the Person Act of 1864, which is based on the 1861 English Act of the same title. Abortion is legal only for the preservation of maternal mental and or physical health. Jamaican health care workers have advocated for changes to the law. A survey conducted in 1973 found that 84% of all physicians and 88% of nurses and midwives in Jamaica favored a more liberal abortion law. No prior research has defined medical student’s attitudes towards abortion in Jamaica. Additionally, students have unique opportunities for increased advocacy as they are in training and have the opportunity to become future providers, further more they are learning about abortion care in the context of the Zika virus epidemic.
We propose an anonymous online cross-sectional survey to investigate the attitudes toward abortion, abortion knowledge, exposure to abortion and post-abortion care, and intent to provide abortion among medical students and post-graduate year 1 interns (PGY1s) enrolled at University of West Indies (UWI) in Jamaica. Amongst PGY1s, we will evaluate changes to attitudes and intentions after obstetrics and gynecology clinical rotations with and without values clarification sessions. Confidentiality and anonymity will be assured and a small incentive will be offered for completion.
This study will allow us to understand the abortion attitudes and exposure of current medical students and post-graduates in Jamaica and assess changes in attitudes with clinical exposure and values clarification. This information will be used to advocate for changes to abortion law and improved abortion education and training.