Blog Post

Number of Abortionists Dwindling in U.S.

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer The stigma of abortion is impacting the number of young doctors who are willing to get into the abortion business, leaving the industry with thinning ranks of graying doctors. In a special report appearing in the Washington Post, a young medical student admitted to being deeply shaken by the recent death of late-term abortionist George Tiller, an event that made her “take a step back” from her plans to provide some abortion services after graduation. “I think for a lot of students right now, it's very hard to be confronted with the constant negative energy and constant fighting" that surrounds abortion, said Devin Miller, leader of the pro-abortion group Medical Students for Choice. “There's this feeling it's dirty and should not be spoken about.” Miller said the stigma surrounding abortion makes it difficult to even learn about abortion in medical school. Students who want training in the procedure must arrange an “elective externship” for training. Thirty-six years after it was legalized, abortion remains one of the most stigmatized medical procedures being performed in the country today. This makes the life of the abortionist very unattractive to young doctors who are not interested in practicing in clinics that are constantly being picketed and where they need armed protection. This has resulted in a definite shortage of physicians willing to do abortions in the U.S.  The number of abortion providers dropped from 2,908 in 1982 to 1,787 in 2005. Eighty seven percent of countries in the U.S. now have no abortion services. The situation is so dire that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has warned that "the availability of abortion services is in jeopardy." The medical industry has been trying to address this problem since 1996, but has met with little success. The Post reports that in 1996, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education required that "induced abortion must be part of residency training" for OB-GYN students, but allowed residents moral or religious objections to opt out. However, a 2008 study found that among OB-GYN residents who said they wanted to provide abortions once they started practicing, only about half actually did. "Our doctors are graying and are not being replaced," said Susan Hill, president of the National Women's Health Foundation in Raleigh, N.C., which operates abortion clinics in largely rural states, including Georgia, Indiana and Mississippi, where only one doctor in the state performs abortions. "We need young doctors and we need them badly," said Hill, whose clinics have been firebombed or set ablaze 18 times by anti-abortion extremists. "The situation is pretty grave, pretty dire." This is especially true in the area of late-term abortions. The death of George Tiller, 67, left only two doctors in the U.S. willing to perform late-term abortions - LeRoy Carhart, 68, of Bellevue, Neb., and Warren Hern, 70, of Boulder, Colorado. Kristan Hawkins, 24, executive director of Students for Life of America, a pro-life group with chapters in 20 medical schools, said her group's goal is to drive abortion out of medical school and residency training altogether. This goal appears to be getting closer, especially with younger doctors tending to be less supportive of abortion. “They have a very old population of abortionists and need to recruit new ones," Hawkins said. "I think there's a generational split." © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®