It didn’t go the way they wanted back in 1973. The abortion debate was supposed to be decided — for good — when it was legalized and doctors in America were supposed to add abortion to the list of services provided. Instead, the number of doctors willing to do abortions has been small. The number of doctors and hospitals willing to just add abortions as another routine service became almost non-existent. This gave rise to the current stand-alone abortion clinics.
In a lengthy July 12 article, the New York Times writes about behind-the scene efforts by abortion advocates to bring abortion training into resident programs and university hospitals. “Its leaders have built residency programs and fellowships at university hospitals, with the hope that, eventually more and more doctors will use their training to bring abortion into their practices. The bold idea at the heart of this effort is to integrate abortion so that it’s a seamless part of health care for women — embraced rather than shunned,” says the article.
Their efforts have been successful in recruiting 10,000 Medical Students for Choice. It has not translated well into real life. The Guttmacher Institute reports that in 1982, over 700 doctors provided abortions in their offices. In 2005, that number had dwindled to 367. “Doctors’ offices now account for only 2 percent of the total number of procedures; hospitals account for barely 5 percent,” according to the NYT article.
There are the personal problems: “….a young professor at the University of Michigan… wrote an academic article about performing an 18-week abortion while she was 18 pregnant….described grasping the fetus’s leg with her forceps, feeling a kick in her own uterus and starting to cry. ‘It was an overwhelming feeling — a brutally visceral response — heartfelt and unmediated by my training or my feminist pro-choice politics…It was one of the more raw moments in my life.’”
Then there are the practical problems of joining a large medical practice which has a policy that no abortions will be provided.
This is a fascinating read into the minds, motivations, and actions of the abortion advocates to change the culture — with very mixed results.
Read the entire article here.