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Emotional Reactions in Abortion Services Personnel

Francis J. Kane Jr., MD; Michael Feldman, MD; Susheila Jain, MSW; Morris A. Lipton, MD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1973;28(3):409-411. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1973.01750330087014.
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This study reports a survey of subjective reactions of medical and nursing personnel to the delivery of abortion services. Staff and resident physicians described reported occasional depression, anxiety, and much obsessive ruminative thinking regarding their involvement with the performance of large numbers of abortions. One physician had to withdraw for a period of several months because of the stress related to his involvement with the program.

Physician involvement, beyond the direct services in the clinic or the operating room, were perfunctory, despite the disclaimers that they treated these patients in the same way. Nursing personnel keenly felt this lack of leadership and suffered through considerable stress in attempting to resolve their ambivalence about participation in these procedures. They also reported some anxiety and depression, as well as a good deal of anger towards the patients for their sexual acting-out.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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