Some medical students have recognized that without providers, there won't be legal abortions. They are encouraging all medical students to be capable and ready to provide this service, before all the old doctors retire!
As pro-choice activists, we are commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1973 landmark decision, Roe vs. Wade. As future physicians, we know that for many women who are seeking safe, legal abortions today, the promise of Roe rings hollow.
The majority of Americans supports a woman's legal right to choose. However, most Americans are unaware that one of the greatest obstacles to legal abortion is simply finding a doctor. There is a shortage of abortion providers: 87 percent of the counties in the United States do not have a single abortion provider.
Abortion is one of the most common surgical procedures among U.S. women. Each year, over a million women have abortions. Despite this medical need, doctors emerging from medical schools and residency programs are not being trained to meet the needs of their patients.
Here are the facts:
1) More than 50 percent of U.S. abortion providers are over the age of 50.
2) Less than 27 percent of U.S. OB-GYN residency programs require first-trimester abortion training.
3) 74 percent of all family practice chief residents receive no training in first-trimester abortion.
As coordinators of Albany Medical College's Medical Students for Choice, we are working to change these statistics. We believe that abortion is an important public health issue and a medical service that should be taught as a standard part of medical education.
We ask the public and the medical community to support students and residents who are working to make the promise of Roe a reality for American women. After all, what good is the legal right to abortion if there is no one to provide it?