Medical abortion and family physicians. Survey of residents and practitioners in two Ontario settings.
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OBJECTIVE: To determine the knowledge, attitudes, and interest in providing medical abortion reported by family physicians and residents in rural and urban settings. DESIGN: A self-administered mailed survey using the modified Dillman method. SETTING: Hamilton and Thunder Bay County in Ontario. PARTICIPANTS: Family medicine residents (n = 93) and physicians (n = 234) in predominantly urban (Hamilton) and rural (Thunder Bay) settings. All faculty family physicians at McMaster University practising general family medicine and all family physicians in Thunder Bay County were surveyed. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Knowledge of, attitudes toward, and interest in providing medical abortion. RESULTS: Overall response rate to the survey was 62.7% (n = 327); 74.2% (69/93) of residents responded; 58.1% (136/234) of physicians responded. Physicians and residents rated their knowledge about medical abortion as poor, but most were interested in receiving more information and training in this area. Many (83.1%, 157/189) reported that medical abortion was an acceptable procedure for family physicians to perform, and 52.0% (64/123) of the physicians would consider providing medical abortions for their patients. Residents training in the more rural Thunder Bay program were less likely to support first-trimester abortions for both medical and nonmedical reasons than those training in Hamilton (P < .05). Male respondents were significantly less supportive of abortion for nonmedical reasons and were less likely to consider providing medical abortions for their patients (P < .05). CONCLUSION: Most family physicians and residents showed interest in receiving more information about and training in medical abortion.
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