Abortion Stigma and Conscientious Objection: Experiences and Opinions of Gynecologists in Italy and Catalonia


  • Silvia De Zordo University of Barcelona (UB), GRAPP-Department of Anthropology, University of Sussex, Dept. of Anthropology, UK


Abortion , Stigma , Conscientious objection , Obstetricians, Gynaecologists


This article discusses the issue of abortion stigma and conscientious objection based on the main results of a qualitative study carried out in hospitals providing abortion care in Italy and Spain (Catalunya). This study was aimed at examining obstetricians-gynaecologists’ experiences and attitudes to abortion, or voluntary interruption of pregnancy. The abortion law is relatively liberal in these two Catholic countries (much more liberal in Spain than in Italy). However, abortion still is strongly stigmatized in the public debate on human and reproductive rights, whose focus has shifted, over the last decade, from women’s rights to the “rights of the conceived”. Based on a study carried out in Italy in 2011-2012 and in Spain in 2013- 2015, this article discusses the impact of the stigmatization of abortion on the quality of obstetricians-gynaecologists’ training and on their professional choices concerning conscientious objection and shows how physicians contribute to reproduce abortion stigma in the two countries.