IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Politicizing abortion: Personal morality and professional responsibility of residents training in the United States


  • Lazarus, Ellen S.


Ever-increasing technological innovations surrounding birth are creating new challenges in biomedical ethics in U.S. obstetrics. The politicization of abortion has agumented these challenges and led to increased conflict between physicians' personal morality and professional responsibility. This paper focuses on some of the problems generated by abortion policies and procedures in an obstetric/gynecology residency program. Examples of conflicts among residents are presented to demonstrate the effect of pluralistic moral perspectives. A system is described where some residents will do abortions and some will not. Patients seeking abortion are often treated in an unprofessional manner when it appears that a conflict exists between the values of patients and those of residents. Unless the socialization of residents includes ethical training, defined educational policy and institutional direction, ethical dilemmas will lead to increased resident stress, an inadequate doctor-patient relationship and a continued shortage of physicians willing to perform abortions despite new policies called for in graduate medical education.

Suggested Citation

  • Lazarus, Ellen S., 1997. "Politicizing abortion: Personal morality and professional responsibility of residents training in the United States," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 44(9), pages 1417-1425, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:44:y:1997:i:9:p:1417-1425

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:44:y:1997:i:9:p:1417-1425. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.