Professional Pragmatism and Abortion Stigma: Assessing the Performance of the Stigmatizing Attitudes, Beliefs and Actions Scale (SABAS)among Ethiopian Midwives

Sarah Jane Holcombe, Sahai Burrowes, Dawit Hailu, Ryan Scott, Aster Berhe


This study assessed the applicability to medical professionals in Ethiopia of an abortion stigma assessment tool developed for community members, and examined the relationship between stigma and willingness to provide safe abortion care (SAC). The Stigmatizing Attitudes, Beliefs and Actions Scale (SABAS) was fielded to a convenience sample of 397 Ethiopian midwives. Scale reliability and validity were assessed, and associations were examined using multivariate linear and logistic regression. Levels of stigma were low compared to those reported elsewhere, and 49% of midwives were willing to provide SAC. The revised SABAS was reliable (alpha = 0.82), but items did not group into SABAS’ conceptual categories, and some had limited face validity. SABAS scores had a small but significant negative association with willingness to provide SAC (OR=0.95, p < 0.05), with negative stereotyping subscale items most predictive. SABAS’ limitations found here suggest the need for an adapted scale for medical professionals. (Afr J Reprod Health 2018; 22[2]:26-39).

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