BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Abortion is a controversial issue in different religions, medical communities, and ideologies. From the Islamic perspective, with the exception of certain medical circumstances, abortion is considered a criminal guilt. This study aimed to investigate the religious beliefs and attitudes toward abortion among the students and healthcare personnel of the gynecology departments of the hospitals affiliated to Babol University of Medical Sciences, Iran.
METHODS: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 186 medical students, interns, midwives, maternity assistants, and healthcare personnel to evaluate the attitudes toward abortion at Babol University of Medical Sciences, Iran during 2014-2015. Collected data included the religious beliefs and attitudes toward abortion and demographic characteristics (age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, and education level), which were obtained via two separate standard questionnaires. Scores of the participants were categorized as follows: negative attitude (mean score: <5.2), moderate attitude (mean score: 5.2-5.3), and positive attitude (mean score: >5.3). Moreover, mean scores of <5.2 were interpreted as inappropriate religious beliefs, while scores of >5.2 were considered as appropriate religious beliefs.
FINDINGS: In this study, mean age of the participants was 28.24±7.57 years. In total, 30 participants (16.6%) were male, and 151 (83.4%) were female. Total mean score of attitude and religious beliefs toward abortion in medical students was 2.89±0.43, which was significantly lower compared to the students of other education fields (3.24±0.52) (p<0.001). In addition, a moderate, direct correlation was observed between the attitude toward abortion and religious orientation of the subjects (r=0.537, p<0.001). Among the studied variables, religious beliefs were the only influential factor for the modification of attitudes toward abortion (p<0.001).
CONCLUSION: According to the results of this study, religious beliefs could be an influential factor to change the attitude of students and healthcare personnel toward abortion. Therefore, higher religious beliefs could be associated with a more favorable attitude toward abortion.