Reproductive justice (RJ) is a framework that promotes universal reproductive rights by addressing underlying economic, social, and political inequities. Although increasingly integrated into reproductive health specialties, broader physicians’ attitudes toward RJ have been unexamined – even though knowing and promoting RJ principles could improve patient care and public and social health.
Using mail and online recruitment methods, we surveyed clinical faculty at the largest academic medical center in one Midwestern state. On a five-point Likert-type scale (“strongly disagree” to “strongly agree”), physicians responded to five principles adapted directly from widely held RJ tenets.
913 physicians representing 20 specialties responded (67% response rate). Majorities somewhat or strongly agreed that every woman has the right to parent or not parent a child if she chooses (89%); health systems should ensure that every woman has access to the full range of contraceptives (93%) and abortion (87%); health systems should ensure everyone achieves full autonomy over reproductive decisions (90%) and raises children in safe and healthy environments (96%). Given high reliability (Cronbach alpha=.85), we collapsed items into a bivariate outcome of support for all five principles vs any opposition. A majority (88%) supported all five principles. Chi-square tests of independence (P<.05) found that men, physicians over 40 years of age, religious physicians, and those who oppose legal abortion were less likely to support RJ principles.
Physician support for RJ was high but not unanimous. We join the call to incorporate RJ principles into medical curricula and healthcare policy.