Brown Bag Seminar: Waiting in vain: The impact of conscientious objection on late-term abortions

Speaker:  Umberto Nizza - University of Verona
  Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at 12:00 PM

Abstract: Abortion is by its nature a delicate practice, medically recommended to be performed as early as possible to minimize risks to the physical and mental health of the patient. In Italy, this right should be guaranteed within certain limits, based on the autonomous assessment of the woman who requests it because she believes that the continuation of the pregnancy may pose a danger to her physical or mental health. This right often clashes with the right of the doctor and healthcare provider to conscientious objection, which is the refusal to perform an abortion to respect individual conscience regarding a morally sensitive area. In Italy, seven out of ten gynecologists are conscientious objectors. In some regions, hospital facilities or private clinics have objection rates ranging from 80 to 100 percent, leading to what is termed structural objection. Using data provided by the Ministry of Health, we assess the impact of an increase in conscientious objection rates on delayed abortions, which occur 28 days after the certification initiating the abortion procedure and pose a serious risk to women. Using a two-stage least squares (2SLS) method, the article demonstrates that a one-unit increase in the rate of objectors - among all the personnel involved, including gynecologists, anesthetists, and nurses - significantly impacts the increase in waiting times, thereby increasing the risks to the patients' health

Programme Director
Maurizio Malpede

External reference
Publication date
September 11, 2023