Determinants of Physician Unwillingness to Offer Medical Abortion Using Mifepristone
Seelig, Michelle D.
Rubenstein, Lisa V.
Women's Health Issues 2006 January-February; 16(1): 14-21
PURPOSE: We sought to identify factors associated with contemplating versus not contemplating offering medical abortion with mifepristone among physicians not opposed to it. METHODS: We analyzed data from a Kaiser Family Foundation survey of a nationally representative sample of 790 American obstetrician/gynecologists and primary care physicians. Our study sample consisted of 419 physicians who were not personally opposed to medical abortion and could be classified as not actively considering (precontemplation) or actively considering (contemplation) offering mifepristone. We conducted multivariate logistic regression to predict being unlikely to offer mifepristone (i.e., in the precontemplation stage of change). PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In 2001, 1 year after U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval, 5% of physicians surveyed were offering mifepristone. Among the 750 physicians not offering mifepristone, 57% were not opposed. Of those not opposed, 74% reported that they were unlikely to offer mifepristone in the next year (precontemplation) as compared to 23% who might offer it (contemplation). Independent predictors of being in the precontemplation stage were being a primary care versus OB/GYN physician (odds ratio [OR] 3.29, p = .02), being in private versus hospital-based practice (OR 2.40, p = .03), and lacking concerns about FDA regulations (OR 2.06, p = .01) or violence and protests (OR 1.93, p = .03) as barriers to offering mifepristone. CONCLUSIONS: For precontemplation-stage physicians, the most efficient strategy for increasing the availability of medical abortion may be to design programs that emphasize clinical benefits and feasibility to stimulate interest in the procedure. For contemplation-stage physicians, the optimum approach may be one that helps to overcome barriers associated with FDA regulations and concerns about violence and protests.
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