In a statement set to be published in the September issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 100 ob-gyns condemn new state restrictions on abortion as a “political regression.” The article… criticizes hospitals for relinquishing abortion to stand-alone clinics that are easily targeted by abortion activists, and calls on the medical community to integrate the procedure into women’s-health services and medical training.
“In our view, hospitals have disregarded the responsibility that our academic predecessors expected them to assume,” the professors write. “The savings in lives and money from legalization were soon forgotten and many hospitals now claim they cannot afford to provide abortions even if they wanted to….”
It’s a rare call to arms for the medical community, which tends to lay low when it comes to abortion. A 2011 study from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists found that while 97% of ob-gyn doctors in the U.S. have met with a patient who wants an abortion, just 14% actually perform the procedure.
Hospitals provide just 4% of abortions in the U.S., according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit sexual-health-research organization, and many facilities limit the procedure to rare cases, like fetal abnormalities or when the life of the woman is at risk. The majority of hospitals perform fewer than 30 abortions per year. Others refuse to provide the procedure at all….
In the end, many doctors are faced with the unsatisfying choice of either performing abortions, or becoming a practicing ob-gyn….
Despite these obstacles, however, pro-choice physicians say they have already made progress toward normalizing abortion in the medical community, most notably by expanding training through residency programs and family-planning fellowships. About 50% of the 200 ob-gyn residency programs in the U.S. now integrate abortion into training requirements, up from just 12% in 1992. Professors believe that a new generation of doctors will use their training to bring abortion back into hospitals and doctors’ offices. A 2011 study of ob-gyns found that female doctors and those ages 35 and younger were far more likely than their colleagues to perform abortions.
“It is very unusual for us to find new residents who don’t want to learn abortions,” [former Planned Parenthood board member and current UCSF professor Philip] Darney says. “They may find it difficult to practice, but we have a whole new generation of young women who are replacing the old men, and they have a very different view about their relationships with their patients. It’s very promising.”
~ Grace Wyler, Time, August 23
[HT: Susie Allen; photo of recent Hoag Hospital protest via newportbeach.patch.com]