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Examining Social Work Students Knowledge of and Attitudes About Abortion and Curriculum Coverage in Social Work Education

, Maha K. Younes, , Carly Franklin
Published: 20 December 2021
 in Affilia

Abstract: Despite social work's stated commitment to abortion rights, research on this topic is not prolific within the discipline (Begun et al., 2016). If we are to live up to our ethical principles, this should be changed. The authors posit that increasing students’ exposure to and understanding of abortion is necessary in the preparation of competent social work practitioners. Using Begun et al.’s (2016) Social Workers’ Abortion Attitudes, Knowledge, and Training questionnaire, the authors expanded the survey by creating additional questions about social work curriculum coverage and training experiences, as well as further content on abortion. Findings indicate that most social work students believe abortion should be legal in at least some circumstances, and also that abortion laws should be less restrictive in the United States. Reported religion and political affiliation had significant effects on several of the abortion attitude statements. Only 7.2% of respondents indicated that abortion is regularly discussed in social work classrooms, and only 2.7% of respondents report they have received training on the topic of abortion in their field placement. The results suggest that social work curriculum coverage on reproductive justice is tenuous and inconsistent at best, leaving students to grapple without the necessary professional foundation.
Keywords: abortion / social work education / reproductive rights / reproductive justice

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