In a recent study of Ob/Gyn’s researchers found that although 97% of them had a patient request an abortion only 14% of them were willing or able to provide them; this number declined from a previous study showing about 22% of Ob/Gyn’s will do an abortion. That’s a sad statistic to think about when you consider that abortion is the second most common outpatient procedure in the U.S. and that 1 in 4 women will have had an abortion by the time they are 30.
There are a lot of reasons why this decline may be occurring. Anti-choice legislation is making providing abortions significantly more difficult. Planned Parenthood just stopped offering abortions at 7 of their 10 clinics in the state of Arizona because of a state funding budget decrease. New Jersey, Florida, Texas and New Hampshire have all cut the budgets for their family planning support funds. If doctors can’t get funding to provide services to low income women it significantly decreases the amount of service they can prove. By not offering abortions, these providers can often retain funds that may otherwise be cut.
Another inhibitor is likely lack of training. Of the 130 accredited Ob/Gyn programs in the U.S. fewer than 50 report offering abortions as part of their residency programs. 33% of student who responded to a survey for Medical Students for Choice reported no coverage of abortion related topics in their classes. In Wisconsin they are actually trying to defund the University of Wisconsin’s Ob/Gyn program because they are one of the few schools that do provide training on abortion. This is in spite of the fact that the school already allows students with moral objections to opt out of that portion of the Ob/Gyn rotation.
Not only that but students report that they get 2-3 hours of class time devoted to Viagra and other male centric “performance enhancers” and only about half an hour on all types contraception… total. Not an half hour on each type, half an hour total. I don’t know which is worse, that Ob/Gyn students aren’t being taught about abortions at all or that men are clearly getting preferential attention in med school classes. It’s clear that women’s health is just not a priority in med school and that’s bound to impact the number of students who choose to practice it.
The numbers aren’t all bad. The report does show that doctors in the 25-35 age groups are most likely to provide abortions; a number that has increased. The same study in 2008 showed doctors over 50 were most likely to perform an abortion, they are now in second place. The report also shows that a significantly higher proportion of Jewish doctors are willing to perform an abortion than those of other religions. Female doctors are also more likely than their male counter parts to provide abortions. So if your Ob/Gyn is a young Jewish female your chances of being able to go to her to get an abortion are pretty good. Otherwise you are likely going to have to go to a different provider.