In that NEJM article that I blogged on earlier, there are numbers about the “Intrinsic religiosity” of physicians, based on the answers of the 1000 or so docs who answered the questionaire.
The authors seem to have no feeling for the history of bioethics as an outcome of the Holocaust or Tuskegee. Instead, the fuss and bother is over docs refusing to follow through on legal killing. (Okay, I will admit that the authors might be trying to avoid in their analysis what they seem to see as a problem: “for the doctor to describe that objection to the patient.” Heaven forbid -oops- that anyone name “wrong,” wrong!)
27% of responders measured moderate and 36% were high on the “Intrinsic Religiosity” scale:
“We also assessed physicians’ intrinsic religiosity and religious affiliations. Intrinsic religiosity — the extent to which a person embraces his or her religion as the “master motive” that guides and gives meaning to his or her life (12) — was measured on the basis of agreement or disagreement with two statements: “I try hard to carry my religious beliefs over into all my other dealings in life” and “My whole approach to life is based on my religion.” Both statements are derived from Hoge’s Intrinsic Religious Motivation Scale13 and have been validated extensively in previous research.(13,14,15) Intrinsic religiosity was categorized as being low if physicians disagreed with both statements, moderate if they agreed with one but not the other, and high if they agreed with both.”
10% of the docs said they had no religious affiliation, while 18% identified as Protestant, 22% as Catholic, 16% as Jewish, and 14% as “other.” The surveyors defined other as “a category that included Buddhist, Hindu, Mormon, Muslim, Eastern Orthodox, and other.”
52% of the docs object to abortion for failed contraception, by the way and 46% object to providing contraception to children 14 – 16 years old when their parents object.
Oddly, the authors cite a lack of consensus about these matters of conscience, and don’t seem to question the moral rightness of any of the practices, only to the fact that a some few docs might actually follow through on their beliefs.
And watch out, docs! The authors suggest a need to actually observe your reaction when patients ask for abortions.