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Future health providers’ willingness to provide abortion services following decriminalisation of abortion in Chile: a cross-sectional survey
  1. M Antonia Biggs1,
  2. Lidia Casas2,
  3. Alejandra Ramm3,4,
  4. C Finley Baba1,
  5. Sara Victoria Correa3,
  6. Daniel Grossman1
  1. 1 Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, Oakland, California, USA
  2. 2 Centro de Derechos Humanos, Facultad de Derecho, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile
  3. 3 Instituto de Investigacion en Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile
  4. 4 Escuela de Sociología, Universidad de Valparaíso, Valparaíso, Chile
  1. Correspondence to Dr M Antonia Biggs; antonia.biggs{at}


Objective To assess Chilean medical and midwifery students’ attitudes and willingness to become trained to provide abortion care, shortly after abortion was decriminalised in 2017.

Design We fielded a cross-sectional, web-based survey of medical and midwifery students. We used generalised estimating equations to assess differences by type of university and degree sought.

Setting We recruited students from a combination of seven secular, religiously-affiliated, public and private universities that offer midwifery or medical degrees with a specialisation in obstetrics and gynaecology, located in Santiago, Chile.

Participants Students seeking medical or midwifery degrees at one of seven universities were eligible to participate. We distributed the survey link to medical and midwifery students at these seven universities; 459 eligible students opened the survey link and 377 students completed the survey.

Primary and secondary outcomes Intentions to become trained to provide abortion services was our primary outcome of interest. Secondary outcomes included moral views and concerns about abortion provision.

Results Most students intend to become trained to provide abortion services (69%), 20% reported that they will not provide an abortion under any circumstance, half (50%) had one or more concern about abortion provision and 16% agreed/strongly agreed that providing abortions is morally wrong. Most believed that their university should train medical and midwifery students to provide abortion services (70%–79%). Secular university students reported higher intentions to provide abortion services (beta 0.47, 95% CI: 0.31 to 0.63), more favourable views (beta 0.52, CI: 0.32 to 0.72) and were less likley to report concerns about abortion provision (adjusted OR 0.47, CI: 0.23 to 0.95) than students from religious universities.

Conclusion Medical and midwifery students are interested in becoming trained to provide abortion services and believe their university should provide this training. Integrating high-quality training in abortion care into medical and midwifery programmes will be critical to ensuring that women receive timely, non-judgemental and quality abortion care.

  • abortion
  • Chile
  • medical students
  • midwifery students

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  • Contributors MAB and LC conceived and designed the study and obtained funding. AR, CFB and SVC participated in study planning, site recruitment, review of data collection instruments and conducted data collection. MAB conducted all data analyses and drafted the manuscript. DG helped to obtain funding. All authors revised and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This work was supported by a grant from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health and an anonymous foundation.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval The study protocol received ethical approval from the University of Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement Data are available upon reasonable request.

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