From Kaiser Family Foundation
02 July, 1998
Study Finds Fewer Abortion Doctors
Abortion advocates are growing increasingly concerned that "not enough competent
doctors" are providing abortion services, the May/June issue of California Medicine
reports. Currently, 84% of counties in the United States have no abortion facility and
fewer physicians trained to perform abortions are graduating from medical school.
A recent Kaiser Family Foundation report found that half of all abortions are performed by
people over the age of 50. In addition, a large percentage of abortion providers are
"circuit riders," those who make their living flying or driving from one
abortion facility to another.
The article highlights the case of one circuit rider who has been charged with second
degree murder for a botched abortion that left a mother dead, highlighting concerns about
the abortion's inherant lack of safety.
The primary reason for the dwindling number of abortion practitioners is that so few
medical students and residents, even those training in OB/GYN specialties, choose to
undergo training in abortion techniques. According to a 1995 study in the pro-aboriton
Family Planning Perspectives, a "majority of OB/GYN residents had no intention of
ever performing abortions, and only 5% said they would ever perform them."
In 1992 only 12.4% of U.S. OB/GYN residency programs offered first trimester abortion
training, compared with 26.3% in 1976. Further, such training is often optional,
"which to already-overworked residents may be tantamount to not offering it at
A pro-abortion group called Medical Students for Choice, founded in 1993, currently has
4,000 members at 100 medical schools. The group demands mandatory abortion training for
students and residents.