204060 Clarifying values and transforming attitudes to improve abortion access: Results of a global assessment

Monday, November 9, 2009: 10:30 AM

Katherine L. Turner, MPH , Training and Service Delivery Improvement, Ipas, Chapel Hill, NC
Allison George, MPH , Center for Public Health Preparedness, UNC at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Kathryn Andersen Clark, PhD , Ipas, Chapel Hill, NC
Globally, unsafe abortion accounts for an estimated 66,500 deaths and innumerable disabilities annually. Values clarification is a WHO-recommended strategy to address barriers to provision of and access to safe abortion resulting from misinformation, stigmatization, negative attitudes and obstructionist behaviors. Ipas has implemented values clarification and attitude transformation (VCAT) workshops with a variety of audiences including health care providers, trainers, administrators, policymakers, journalists and other key stakeholders in more than 24 countries since 2002. Ipas conducted a global assessment of VCAT workshops that included entries from an organizational training database, staff interviews, workshop agendas and reports and pre, post and follow-up workshop surveys on participants' abortion-related knowledge, comfort levels, values and behavioral intentions. Staff and workshop participants considered VCAT an effective and important strategy that delivered results. Matched pre- and post- survey data (N=154) from select workshops indicated that VCAT was associated with a statistically significant (p<.001) increase in participants' knowledge about abortion and supportive attitudes toward abortion provision; positive shifts were also reported in behavioral intentions to support comprehensive abortion care. Knowledge scores at a pilot follow-up (N=16) were lower than those directly following VCAT workshops but were substantially higher than those recorded before exposure to VCAT. Attitudes supportive of abortion were even higher at follow-up (N=16) than on post-surveys. The majority (81-100% per item) of the participants in the follow-up surveys fulfilled their behavioral intentions with only one exception. Recommendations for improved and broader implementation, further evaluation and applications to other stigmatized health services are discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Discuss the global problem of abortion-related mortality and morbidity and poor access to safe abortion care. 2. Describe abortion values clarification and attitude transformation interventions and results. 3. Discuss recommendations for improved and broader implementation, further evaluation and applications to other stigmatized health services.

Keywords: Abortion, Access

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I lead my organization's values clarification and attitude transformation global initiative and have over twenty years of experience in international women's sexual and reproductive health education, training and programs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.