Thursday, December 3, 2009

Learning Abortion

We had a pretty interesting discussion about how education about termination of pregnancy fits in with resident education in OB/GYN. According to the accreditation board, no residency program can require that residents participate in a termination of pregnancy. However, all residency programs are required to accommodate residents who wish to learn about and participate in such procedures. This applies even if it's a Catholic hospital/university that provides no such services (and equates such services to murder*). Such hospitals have an agreement with another institution that does provide it. Which means that it is possible that somewhere in the country, an anti-abortion institution has an agreement with an institution like planned parenthood that provides abortion services in order for them to keep their accreditation**. I wonder what the atmosphere was at the meeting that led to that agreement. And, how stigmatized is the pro-choice resident in an anti-choice hospital, if they do decide to take this option? Also, how likely is an interested resident going to take the option if the nearest clinic providing abortions is hundreds of miles away?

Another interesting part of this discussion was that each institution has an unspoken reputation about whether it has a pro-choice or anti-choice lean. And, although it is illegal for them to use the applicants views on abortion as a litmus test, according to the attending we were talking to (who has been intimately involved in national ob/gyn resident education), these institutions do look for clues on the residents' applications about where they stand on the issue (i.e. if they said they were a member of Medical Students For Choice) in order to make decisions on whether to interview them or not. Sounds like a litmus test to me.

* though, in my opinion, they really don't. See this discussion.
** although, some of them do get around it by saying that their abortion training is "limited to patients with medical indications," which can equate to early induction of labor and is not really what most people think of as abortion.

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