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Abortion terminology: views of women seeking abortion in Britain

Abortion terminology: views of women seeking abortion in Britain
Abortion terminology: views of women seeking abortion in Britain
Background Controversy exists as to whether ‘abortion or ‘termination of pregnancy’ should be used by health professionals during interactions with women and in published works. Methods Self-administered anonymous questionnaires were distributed to women attending 54 abortion clinics in Scotland, England and Wales during a 4-month period in 2015. Responses were coded and analysed using SPSS. Descriptive statistics were generated and responses compared by demographiccharacteristics. The main outcome measures were the proportion of respondents reporting that they found the terms ‘abortion’ and ‘termination of pregnancy’ to be distressing, and women’s preferred terminology for referring toinduced abortion.Results Surveys were completed by 2259 women. The mean age of the respondents was 27(range 13–51) years; 82% identified as white, 51% had children and 36% had previously undergone abortion. Thirty-five percentindicated that they found the word ‘abortion’ distressing compared with 18% who reported that ‘termination of pregnancy’ was distressing (p< 0.001). Forty-five percent of respondents expressed a preference for ‘termination ofpregnancy’ and 12% for ‘abortion’. Sixteen percent would choose either term. This pattern of results did not vary statistically by age, reproductive history, country of residence, ethnicity or level of deprivation.Conclusions Most women seeking abortion did not find the terms ‘abortion’ or termination of pregnancy’ distressing. When given a choice of terms, more women who expressed a preference chose ‘termination of pregnancy’. Healthcare professionals should be sensitive to preferences for terminology when communicating with women seeking abortion.There has been some controversy inrecent years over the terminology thathealthcare professionals should use forinduced abortion.1 2 ‘Abortion’ is an internationally
1471-1893
265-268
Cameron, Sharon
d8c2cfc6-e6db-4b69-9722-557fe2adc9fd
Lohr, Patricia A.
01c02fff-37dd-4cb2-aef8-9291514042c3
Ingham, Roger
e3f11583-dc06-474f-9b36-4536dc3f7b99
Cameron, Sharon
d8c2cfc6-e6db-4b69-9722-557fe2adc9fd
Lohr, Patricia A.
01c02fff-37dd-4cb2-aef8-9291514042c3
Ingham, Roger
e3f11583-dc06-474f-9b36-4536dc3f7b99

Cameron, Sharon, Lohr, Patricia A. and Ingham, Roger (2017) Abortion terminology: views of women seeking abortion in Britain. Journal of Family Planning & Reproductive Health Care, 43 (4), 265-268. (doi:10.1136/jfprhc-2016-101631).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background Controversy exists as to whether ‘abortion or ‘termination of pregnancy’ should be used by health professionals during interactions with women and in published works. Methods Self-administered anonymous questionnaires were distributed to women attending 54 abortion clinics in Scotland, England and Wales during a 4-month period in 2015. Responses were coded and analysed using SPSS. Descriptive statistics were generated and responses compared by demographiccharacteristics. The main outcome measures were the proportion of respondents reporting that they found the terms ‘abortion’ and ‘termination of pregnancy’ to be distressing, and women’s preferred terminology for referring toinduced abortion.Results Surveys were completed by 2259 women. The mean age of the respondents was 27(range 13–51) years; 82% identified as white, 51% had children and 36% had previously undergone abortion. Thirty-five percentindicated that they found the word ‘abortion’ distressing compared with 18% who reported that ‘termination of pregnancy’ was distressing (p< 0.001). Forty-five percent of respondents expressed a preference for ‘termination ofpregnancy’ and 12% for ‘abortion’. Sixteen percent would choose either term. This pattern of results did not vary statistically by age, reproductive history, country of residence, ethnicity or level of deprivation.Conclusions Most women seeking abortion did not find the terms ‘abortion’ or termination of pregnancy’ distressing. When given a choice of terms, more women who expressed a preference chose ‘termination of pregnancy’. Healthcare professionals should be sensitive to preferences for terminology when communicating with women seeking abortion.There has been some controversy inrecent years over the terminology thathealthcare professionals should use forinduced abortion.1 2 ‘Abortion’ is an internationally

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Accepted/In Press date: 25 May 2017
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 July 2017
Published date: October 2017

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Local EPrints ID: 415024
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/415024
ISSN: 1471-1893
PURE UUID: 96a7869a-5d22-46c8-9bf3-f9db35a668c5

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Date deposited: 20 Oct 2017 16:32
Last modified: 28 Aug 2019 17:25

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