Giving Compass' Take:
- Overturning Roe v. Wade could mean that medical residents learning to practice obstetrics and gynecology will no longer learn medical abortion procedures in states that have strict abortion bans.
- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists favors abortion rights and teaching procedures to offer the full spectrum of medical practices for patients that need them. How can donors help support positive health outcomes for those seeking abortion access and reproductive care?
- Learn how to fund the frontlines of abortion access.
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The likely end of federal abortion rights won’t just make it more difficult for women to get an abortion. It’s also almost certain to make it more difficult to train medical professionals on abortion procedures — a skill that doctors and others who take care of women’s health consider essential.
The prospect raises “a huge public health issue” in the words of one doctor — and one that can affect not just patients seeking an abortion, but those who experience miscarriage or stillbirth.
Any day now, the U.S. Supreme Court will hand down its decision over a Mississippi law that bans abortion after 15 weeks. In a draft of the pending opinion that was leaked May 2, Justice Samuel Alito calls for overturning the 1973 opinion in Roe v. Wade that legalized abortion nationwide.
If the final opinion reflects that conclusion, in Wisconsin it would bring back an 1849 state law that outlaws most abortions. While that is expected to face a legal challenge, if the 173-year-old law takes effect, it would become a crime to terminate a pregnancy, regardless of the reason.
Overturning Roe would at least endanger, and could very likely end, training in abortion procedures for medical residents learning to practice obstetrics and gynecology in Wisconsin and other states with abortion bans on the books. OB/GYN residency programs are required to offer that training; in the worst-case scenario, Wisconsin OB/GYN residency programs might lose national accreditation.
“Abortion is a critical medical intervention,” said Dr. Iffath Abbasi Hoskins, ACOG’s president and board chair, in a statement that accompanied the policy revision. The policy was revised, she said, to “make it unmistakably clear that ACOG trusts doctors and patients — and not lawmakers — to make decisions about what is best for patients’ health and well-being.”
Surveys have found broad support for abortion rights and abortion care among doctors. In 2019, the Collaborative for Reproductive Equity (CORE) at the UW medical school polled the school’s doctors on the impact of restrictions on abortion that had been enacted since 2011. More than 900 doctors responded to the survey, and more than 90% said overturning Roe v Wade “would worsen Wisconsin women’s health,” says Jenny Higgins, CORE’s director.
Read the full article about abortion training by Erik Gunn at The 74.