Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Challenges face abortion providers in training

Today's Washington Post examines the effect the "abortion stigma" (and anti-abortion terrorism) has on medical students.

The numbers alone are startling. Sandra G. Boodman reports that "in 2005, 1.2 million abortions were performed, dwarfing the number of appendectomies (341,000), gallbladder removals (398,000) and hysterectomies (575,000)." Yet despite the frequency of the procedure, which 1 in 3 American women undergo by the time they are 45, it is rarely taught in medical schools. Students who want to be trained in abortion often have to have special training or "externships" in addition to the regular curriculum.

The current population of abortion providers is aging. This problem is especially severe among doctors who perform more complicated second trimester abortions. The two most visible late-term abortion providers, LeRoy Carhart and Warren Hern, are 68 and 70, respectively. When you consider the dangers these men face everyday, it's not surprising that few young doctors are jumping to take their place when abortion providers are needed more than ever. As Susan Hill, president of the National Women's Health Foundation told the Post, "Our doctors are graying and are not being replaced. We need young doctors and we need them badly. The situation is pretty grave, pretty dire."

One organization working to support and train new abortion providers is Medical Students for Choice. Check out their website and consider ways you can support this important cause.

Image via Stepsaheadlearners

No comments: