Want to Protect the Right to Abortion? Train More People to Perform Them
By Jody Steinauer
Aug. 29, 2018
When I was in medical school in the 1990s, it was rare to hear abortion mentioned as an option for pregnant women at all — let alone for there to be in-depth training on how to counsel patients on a full range of pregnancy options, including termination. My generation of physicians simply wasn’t prepared to provide basic, comprehensive reproductive health care. Even though it had been 20 years since Roe v. Wade legalized abortion nationwide, only 12 percent of obstetrics and gynecology residency programs at the time included abortion training.
Twenty-five years later, the training situation has, fortunately, improved. But there is still work to do: More than a third of ob-gyn residency programs don’t offer routine abortion training. Some programs offer training only on treating someone who is managing a miscarriage, so those residents do not gain skills in counseling and caring for women who want to end their pregnancies. Most family medicine residency programs still have no abortion training at all, even though family physicians are critical for providing high-quality family planning within primary care services.