The July 18, 2010 issue of The New York Times Magazine has an informative article titled “The New Abortion Providers,” which puts the spotlight on upcoming doctors and the need to include abortion-care training in medical school curricula.
As the article points out, in 1973 more than 80 percent of the nation’s abortion facilities were located within hospitals; by 1996 more than 90 percent of abortions were taking place in clinics. The move from hospitals to free-standing clinics made the abortion provider more vulnerable. This weakness was exploited by groups such as Operation Rescue, whose tactics include the harassment of doctors, as well as terrorists who single out abortion providers for assassination.
While the first post-Roe generation of abortion providers was motivated by their exposure to infections and deaths following self-induced or illegal abortions, today’s crop of medical students does not generally have firsthand experience with such horrors. In the years following the Roe v. Wade decision, the number of abortion providers has been on the decline; this move away from mainstream medicine has led to the disappearance of abortion training in residency programs. Currently more than half of U.S. abortion providers are over the age of 50, which is indicative of the need for more trained medical students. Continue reading