Human Reproduction Archives
Human Reproduction Archives
SYSTEMATIC REVIEW Reproductive Health

Religious implications in the positioning and practice of health professionals and students about induced abortion: systematic review

Jefferson Drezett, Renato de Oliveira, Maria Ines Rosselli Puccia

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Objective: Review the literature on the relationship between religion and the practices and positions of professionals and students of sexual and reproductive health in relation to induced abortion. Method: Systematic review in SciELO, and LILACS databases, from January 2010 to May 2021, using the descriptors (“Abortion, Induced” [Mesh]) AND “Religion” [Mesh]. Two authors separately evaluated the articles, selecting those that met the eligibility criteria. Disagreements were submitted to the opinion of the third author. 270 articles were identified and 31 articles were selected for qualitative metasynthesis. Study exempted from submission to the Ethics and Research Committee. Results: 23 articles (74.2%) used quantitative designs, six (19.3%) qualitative methods, one (3.2%) case report, and one (3.2%) intervention design. Students and resident physicians were approached in 15 articles (48.4%), physicians in 14 (45.1%), midwives in four (12.9%), and nurses in two (6.5%). In all articles analyzed, the strongest link with religious beliefs showed influence in positions and practices that oppose or restrict induced abortion. Conclusion: Conservative and fundamentalist religious positions on induced abortion persist, which negatively influence students and health professionals, hampering women’s human rights and reproductive rights.


Induced abortion, Religion and medicine, Conscientious refusal to treat, Medical education, Nurse’s role.


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