David Kopacz, MD
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Medical Student Homophobia — Can Psychiatrists Help?

Presented at the American Psychiatric Association
Annual Meeting
New York, New York | May 1996

Abstract: To assess whether preclinical medical students hold liberal or conservative attitudes regarding abortion, we administered a standardized questionnaire to 72 second-year medical students at a large urban university. We enquired whether they considered abortion murder, or a legitimate personal choice, and under which circumstances they would perform abortions or refer patients for abortions. In general, students held more liberal attitudes toward abortion if they had had previous sexual experience, if they had been HIV tested, and if they were Jewish. Some 14% of students responded they would never perform or refer a patient for abortion under any circumstances. These findings raise the question of the degree to which physicians' personal beliefs about abortion may affect women's access to abortion as a therapeutic option, which is especially important in an era of increased limitation of physician choice.

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