The right to refuse on grounds of conscience has long existed, but researchers were surprised by the number of objectors in the survey.
“The number was higher than we expected,” the survey’s authors wrote in biweekly Journal of Norwegian Medical Association.
Of the 514 aspiring doctors surveyed at the country’s four medical faculties, 87 percent were still generally supportive of voluntary abortion. Students at NTNU in Trondheim were deemed the “most liberal” and were 93 percent in favour of abortion.
While demographic data was collected in the survey, it is not known who the 27.3 percent seeking to reserve their right not to perform abortions were beyond gender. Men were generally more opposed to abortion than women, the survey said.
One in five of those hoping to avoid performing abortions by right said they were nevertheless for abortion.
“This can be interpreted to mean that a section of students find abortion so (morally and biologically) problematic that they don’t want anything to do with the phenomenon, but at the same time think it's wrong for society to forbid the practice,” the study’s student researcher wrote.