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Fam Plann Perspect. 2000 Nov-Dec;32(6):268-71, 320.

Abortion training in U.S. obstetrics and gynecology residency programs, 1998.

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  • 1Access Initiative, National Abortion Federation, Washington, DC, USA.



Since the late 1970s, the number of obstetrics and gynecology residency programs providing abortion training in the United States has steadily decreased. Given the documented shortage of abortion providers, assessing and ensuring the availability of abortion training in graduate medical education is critical.


In 1998, the National Abortion Federation surveyed the 261 accredited U.S. residency programs in obstetrics and gynecology, and analyzed the availability of first- and second-trimester abortion training.


Of the 179 programs that responded to the survey, 81% reported that they offer first-trimester abortion training--46% routinely and 34% as an elective. Seventy-four percent of programs offer second-trimester training--44% routinely and 29% as an elective. Some programs that do not offer training give residents the option of obtaining it elsewhere. While 26% of programs indicated that all residents in their programs receive abortion training, 40% said that fewer than half are trained, including 14% that train no residents. The operating room is the most common training site: Fifty-nine percent of programs reported that abortion training takes place in the operating room.


After a decades-long decline in the availability of abortion training, opportunities for abortion training have increased. However, there is reason to be cautious in interpreting these results, including possible response bias and pressure to report the availability of abortion training because of new guidelines from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

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