Dropping abortion instruction in med schools

Dropping abortion instruction in med schools June 25, 2013

The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article that bemoans what pro-lifers would celebrate:  Fewer and fewer med schools and teaching hospitals are training new doctors in how to perform abortions.

From Heidi Landecker  in As States Try to Curb Abortion, Future Doctors Fight for Training – Students – The Chronicle of Higher Education. [subscription required]:

By imposing restrictions on abortion clinics, more and more state legislatures are trying to limit Roe v. Wade. Now a university medical center has aided that effort, raising questions about whether its actions are in the best interests of medical education and public health.

In April the University of Toledo Medical Center, after criticism from Ohio Right to Life, declined to renew a so-called transfer agreement with one abortion clinic and stopped arranging one with another. The agreements establish that clinics may move a patient to a hospital in an emergency. Without them, a clinic can’t operate in Ohio, limiting opportunities for valuable training experience for medical students and residents.

The university’s president, Lloyd A. Jacobs, says its hospital will “take patients in our emergency room from anywhere, anytime, from any background, under any circumstance.” But seeking “a more neutral position,” he wants to free his state institution from transfer agreements with abortion clinics.

No other local hospital will sign the agreements. One clinic, Center for Choice, said last week that it was closing; Capital Care Network will probably close in July, when its agreement with the university expires.

Carolyn Payne, a rising third-year medical student at the University of Toledo and president of its chapter of Medical Students for Choice, says that isn’t right. She and about 15 other students volunteered at Center for Choice, working with counselors and a doctor to learn abortion care. She will now have to go to another city—an hour away—to learn this common medical procedure.

Nearly a third of all American women will have an abortion by age 45, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which studies and advocates for reproductive health and rights. Yet lectures and rotations covering abortion are surprisingly scant in medical-school education, especially in the South and Midwest. And if abortion isn’t taught in medical schools, a shortage of doctors who perform them will make Roe v. Wade irrelevant.


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