Obstetrician-gynecologists, religious institutions, and conflicts regarding patient-care policies

Published:April 30, 2012DOI:


      The purpose of this study was to assess how common it is for obstetrician-gynecologists who work in religiously affiliated hospitals or practices to experience conflict with those institutions over religiously based policies for patient care and to identify the proportion of obstetrician-gynecologists who report that their hospitals restrict their options for the treatment of ectopic pregnancy.

      Study Design

      We mailed a survey to a nationally representative sample of 1800 practicing obstetrician-gynecologists.


      The response rate was 66%. Among obstetrician-gynecologists who practice in religiously affiliated institutions, 37% have had a conflict with their institution over religiously based policies. These conflicts are most common in Catholic institutions (52%; adjusted odds ratio, 8.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.7–46.2). Few reported that their options for treating ectopic pregnancy are limited by their hospitals (2.5% at non-Catholic institutions vs 5.5% at Catholic institutions; P = .07).


      Many obstetrician-gynecologists who practice in religiously affiliated institutions have had conflicts over religiously based policies. The effects of these conflicts on patient care and outcomes are an important area for future research.

      Key words

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