The School of Nursing and Allied Health has been awarded £250,000 from the prestigious Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) for a project which will examine the rights of healthcare practitioners in relation to abortion.
The project is receiving funding from the ESRC’s Transformative Research Call, 50 years after the enactment of the Abortion Act. The research aims to establish if the right for healthcare practitioners to conscientious objection under Section 4 of the Act is being maintained or if this has changed over time, with changes in the practice to carrying out abortions.
Professor Valerie Fleming, Principal Investigator, explains the importance of the research: “We are aware that the concept of abortion immediately raises ethical concerns due to its sensitive nature but this research is not questioning the legality or ethics of abortion. It aims to establish if healthcare practitioners feel they are able to provide an excellent standard of patient care in relation to abortion, while simultaneously balancing their working lives with their personal views. Questions we hope to provide answers to through the research include ‘what do healthcare practitioners feel is reasonable to object to when providing abortion care?’ and ‘what are the parametres of abortion care?’”
Those interviewed as part of the research project will include midwives, nurses, doctors and pharmacists who provide the morning after pill.