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 all."

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.