Document Type




Format of Original

20 p.

Publication Date



University Faculty for Life

Source Publication

Life and Learning XV

Source ISSN



The availability of pre-implantation abortion pills has increased the probability that advanced practice nurses (i.e., nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives) will be instrumental in providing abortion services in the United States. The purpose of this pilot study was to determine the attitudes, intentions, and ethical stance of advanced practice nursing students towards the provision of abortion services. The study was a descriptive cross-sectional survey of 53 advanced practice nursing students at a private Midwestern Catholic university. A multi-item abortion attitude survey was administered to students in three required courses. The survey included a section on ethical principles and open-ended questions on abortion attitudes. The nursing students were either in a woman-related specialty, pediatrics, or in general adult nursing; most were between the ages of 24-29 (60.5%); and most (66.0%) were Roman Catholic. A majority (61.5%) did not feel that abortion should be available under any circumstance. However, 54% felt that advanced practice nurses should be able to provide abortion services. Few (7.7%) plan on incorporating abortion into their practices but 74.4% would refer for abortion services. The most frequent reasons for not willing to provide abortion were: (1) out of scope of practice (53.8%), (2) religious beliefs (59.0%), and (3) personal values (64.1%). The respondents for most part indicated either Sacred Life (43.6%) or Human Life/Utilitarian (48.7%) as their ethical stance. The Human Life/Utilitarian students had a significantly higher willingness to provide abortion services than Sacred Life students (p < 0.05). Although the majority of advanced practice nursing students did not intend to provide abortion services, most were open to referring for abortion services and saw abortion as a personal right.


Published version. Life and Learning, Vol. XV (2005): 131-149. Publisher Link. © 2005 University Faculty for Life. Used with permission.

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Nursing Commons