Late termination of pregnancy: a comparison of obstetricians' experience in eight European countries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective To compare the experience and attitude of obstetricians in Europe towards late termination of pregnancy and the factors affecting their responses. Design Cluster sampling cross-sectional survey. All neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)-associated maternity units were recruited (census sampling) in Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden. In France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, units were selected at random. In every recruited unit, all obstetricians with at least 6 months' experience were invited to participate. Setting NICU-associated maternity units in eight European countries. Population Obstetricians with at least 6 months' clinical experience. Methods An anonymous, self-administered questionnaire was used. Multinomial logistic analysis was used to identify factors predicting the obstetricians' views about modifying the law governing late termination in their country. Main outcome measure Obstetricians' experience of late termination of pregnancy and views about national policies. Results One hundred and five units and 1530 obstetricians participated (response rates 70 and 77% respectively). The most common indications for late termination were congenital anomalies and women's physical health. Feticide was not common except in France, Luxembourg and the UK. Active euthanasia of a liveborn was practiced in France and the Netherlands. Obstetricians in Germany were more likely to feel that late termination should be more severely restricted, the opposite was true in Spain and the Netherlands. In Italy, there was dissatisfaction with current status, but opinion was divided, reflecting views on both sides of the debate. Conclusions This research outlines current practice in a difficult and sensitive area and suggests the need for more discussion and support for all those who were involved.


  • M. Habiba
  • M. Da Fre
  • D. J. Taylor
  • C. Arnaud
  • O. Bleker
  • Göran Lingman
  • M. M. Gomez
  • P. Gratia
  • W. Heyl
  • C. Viafora
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine


  • Late abortion, termination of pregnancy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1340-1349
JournalBJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Publication categoryResearch