One Reason Medical Students May Bypass OB-GYN Specialty & Contribute to Shortage? Opt-Out Abortion Training Requirements

Caroline Wharton - 17 Oct 2023

The United States has been concerned about a shortage of obstetricians and gynecologists (OB-GYNs) for around a decade now. If we want to fix this problem, we need to explore why this downwards trend is occurring — and one reason may be medical education programs themselves. 

Digging into this issue, Students for Life of America (SFLA) Lead Operations Supervisor & Medical/Law Coordinator Gavin Oxley recently published a Real Clear Policy op-ed on this topic entitled “Take Pro-Abortion Pressure off Medical Students by Ending Opt-Out Abortion Training Requirements.” In his piece, he argued that one of the key factors influencing medical students to bypass this specialty (and thus contribute to the shortage we’re facing) is opt-out abortion training required by their medical programs. 

What is this exactly? Oxley explained, 

“Opt-out requirements apply when training is automatically required unless you choose to go through an administrative process that allows you not to participate. Such requirements place unethical pressures on medical students/residents to violate their conscience in order to not be targeted for their life-affirming beliefs. This isn’t conducive to staying in the field — but sadly, medical societies themselves often push for abortion “without restrictions, without limitations and without barriers” so far as to forsake conscience.”   

For those wondering: No, this training is not needed in order to provide miscarriage care. 

According to the Association of American Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), medical professionals don’t need to be trained on what is known as “direct” or “elective” abortion to manage life-affirming care for mothers and preborn babies experiencing miscarriage. In a statement to SFLA, AAPLOG stated:

“Miscarriage management is a part of every OB/GYN’s practice, as opposed to abortion which is not performed by 76-93% of OB’s.  Limiting or eliminating elective abortions will not have a negative impact on physicians’ ability to care for women in emergency situations – neither now nor in the future.  We will continue to provide both of our patients with excellent and life-affirming care.”   

That’s why while Oxley would prefer that no abortions or abortion training happen at all, he maintained that opt-in training programs (where students would have to go out of their way to receive such experiences) would be better for student morale. 

He continued, “While some programs are afraid lack of abortion training will drive away top-tier candidates, truly great candidates will be the ones who want to save the lives of all their patients, not kill their most innocent ones. Empowering our next generation of medical professionals is protecting their diverse sets of values which allow for the compassionate and total care of women and preborn children.

“We must hold medical activist institutions accountable for their role in deteriorating our pool of future medical professionals. No medical student understandably wants to constantly dodge coercive program requirements on the long road to become a full-fledged physician — and neither should they have to.”

To read Oxley’s Real Clear Policy op-ed in its entirety, click HERE

READ NEXT: Pro-Life Doctor on the Many Ways That Abortion Harms Women

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