Vol. 8 No. 2 (2005)
Abortion in Medical School Curricula
- Atsuko Koyama, MD, MPH
- Robin Williams, MD
Studies show that in a group of five women- your mother, sister, aunt, daughter, girlfriend- two of them will have an abortion by age forty-four (1). Although this statistic varies by several factors including race and marital status, abortion is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the United States and Canada (1, 2). Abortion is a safe, legal and common procedure, yet it is not routinely taught in medical schools (3, 4). In fact, there are no requirements that abortion be included in medical school curricula (5). Because it is so common, it is important for medical students to learn about abortion- the technical aspects of the different types of procedures, as well as the social, global and public health issues involved in abortion provision. Regardless of an individual physician's personal beliefs about abortion, every physician has a responsibility to help patients achieve optimal mental and physical health, to inform patients of their reproductive health options, and to serve as patient advocates. Only through comprehensive education and training will future physicians be able to meet the reproductive health needs of women.
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