Abortion Training Rates Similar in U.S. and Canada

Only half of both countries' OB/GYN residency programs offer routine abortion training

FRIDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Only half of Canadian and U.S. obstetrics and gynecology residency programs offer routine training in elective abortion procedures, according to two studies published in the Aug. 1 issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

After surveying U.S. OB/GYN residency program directors, Lori Boardman, M.D., of Brown Medical School in Providence, R.I., and colleagues found that 51 percent of programs offer routine instruction in elective abortion, with 39 percent offering optional instruction and 10 percent offering no instruction.

After surveying Canadian post-graduate OB/GYN residents, Jody Steinauer, M.D., of the University of California San Francisco, and colleagues found that 71 percent participated in abortion training and that half of them planned to perform abortions after residency. But they also found that only half of Canadian OB/GYN programs include routine abortion training.

"As the majority of the current providers reach retirement, younger graduates will need to be involved in both abortion provision and training of future physicians," Boardman and colleagues conclude. "Although the individual's decision to provide elective abortion services after residency will ultimately drive the nature and range of such services for American women, adequate training during residency is fundamental to protecting the patients' rights to determine the outcome of an unwanted pregnancy. Ongoing training in abortion techniques during residency helps guarantee access to safe and legal abortion."

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