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Vol. 3 No. 1 (2023): Contingency, Unpredictability and Law in Psychic and Collective Development

Induced abortion and consciousness objection: an explorative analysis of gynecologists’ narratives

February 14, 2023


In Italy gynecologists can claim consciousness objection when requested to provide abortion; as described by the latest data analysis, 70% of them decide to not provide this kind of medical procedure. Psychological and sociological research studies about abortion are usually related to the construct of “abortion stigma” and they are mostly focused on women’s experiences rather than on providers’ ones. The present study tries to understand the subjective perspective of physicians in relation to abortion and to consciousness objection to better understand the emotional dynamics taking part in their workplace and job’s emotional experience. Structured interviews were administered to 19 gynecologists and trainees in Gynecology to explore their feelings connected to their work with a focus on voluntary interruption of pregnancy and the choice of being or not an objector. Since it is an exploratory study we decided to employ Emotional Text Analysis to analyze the entire textual corpus of interviews to explore their affective symbolization. Statistical multidimensional analyses were conducted to detect thematic domains (clusters) and latent factors organizing the contraposition between them, considered as a mirror of emotional dynamics part of the context. We found out five clusters, referring to different emotional dimensions: the representation of undesired pregnancy as something unmanageable; the role of consciousness objection in defining physicians’ professional identities; the role of manhood power on women’s pregnancy; the emotional detachment needed to deal with abortion and the representation of consciousness objection as an instrument of power. All the results are discussed based on the previous literature.