University of Wisconsin–Madison Medical College of Wisconsin

Abortion Attitudes and Behavioral Intentions of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residents at Four Midwestern Residency Programs Prior to Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health

Abigail S. Cutler, MD, MPH; Elise S. Cowley, BS; Jessika A. Ralph, MD, MSCI; Jessie Chen, MD; Amy Godecker, PhD, MS; Jordan Ward, MD; Sarah Hutto, MD, MPH, Laura Jacques, MD

WMJ. 2024;123(3); published online in advance June 3, 2024.

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Introduction: In June 2022, the United States Supreme Court announced its decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization to overturn Roe v Wade. As a result, half of US states now face proposed or in-effect abortion bans, which affect the ability of obstetrics and gynecology (ObGyn) residency programs to provide abortion training. We sought to establish ObGyn residents’ pre-Dobbs attitudes toward abortion, desire to learn about abortion, and intentions about providing abortion care in their future practice.

Methods: From January through December 2021, we surveyed 70 ObGyn residents at 4 programs in Wisconsin and Minnesota to assess their attitudes toward abortion, desire to learn about abortion, and intentions about providing abortion care in their future practice.

Results: Fifty-five out of 70 (79%) ObGyn residents completed the survey. Most reported highly favorable attitudes toward abortion, nearly all found the issue of abortion important, and the majority planned to incorporate abortion care into their future work. There were no differences in median attitude scores or behavioral intentions among institutions.

Conclusions: Prior to the Dobbs decision, ObGyn residents in Minnesota and Wisconsin viewed abortion as important health care and intended to provide this care after graduation.

Author Affiliations: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin (Cutler, Godecker, Ward, Jacques); Department of Bacteriology, UWSMPH, Madison, Wisconsin (Cowley); Microbiology Doctoral Training Program, UWSMPH, Madison, Wisconsin (Cowley); Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota (Ralph, Chen, Hutto).
Corresponding Author: Abigail S. Cutler, MD, MPH, 451 Junction Rd, Madison, WI 53717; phone 608.265.7601; email; ORCID ID 0000-0003-0485-9771
Funding/Support: Elise Cowley is a Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) student and was supported by a National Library of Medicine training grant to the Computation and Informatics in Biology and Medicine Training Program (NLM 5T15LM007359) at UW-Madison, and in part by MSTP grant T32GM140935.
Financial Disclosures: None declared.
Acknowledgements: The authors wish to thank Andrea Zorbas, Sharon Blohowiak, Amanda Wildenberg, and Kelly Winum for administrative support; Allison Linton and Kristina Kaljo for their contributions to study design and recruitment; and Nathan Jones and the UW-Madison Survey Center.
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