After three decades dominated by the rabid rhetoric of
reproductive choice, the number of doctors choosing to perform abortions
This is a significant cultural phenomenon, but don't look for
the National Organization for Women or National Abortion and Reproductive
Rights Action League (NARAL) to explore it truthfully anytime soon. The last
thing feminists want to contemplate is how their crusading efforts to
diversify medical schools might have actually backfired by resulting in more
women doctors -- who take their commitment to protecting all human life
The abortion forces blame political intimidation by their
opponents for the decline. But maybe, just maybe, the abortionist shortage
is occurring because a growing number of doctors have concluded that
providing induced "therapeutic" abortion is a fundamental violation of their
professional creed. The Hippocratic oath states clearly: "I will maintain
the utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death
and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life."
Between 1992 and 1996, The Washington Post noted in a recent
panicky editorial, the number of abortion providers in America declined by
14 percent. The downward trend has been ongoing for 20 years. Of roughly
2,000 doctors who now perform abortions nationwide, more than half are over
50 and closing in on retirement. The Post's analysis: "The greatest decrease
was among doctors in private practice, who are less likely to perform
abortions the younger they are; and hospitals, which, as they are bought by
religious institutions and for-profit chains, increasingly prefer to avoid
the controversies that abortion entails."
In other words, the unencumbered exercise of religious liberty
and the power of the free market have combined to reduce the number of
willing abortion providers. Oh, how awful.
To remedy this calamitous epidemic of new young doctors
listening to their consciences (gasp), the abortion lobby has conjured a
tidy solution: Infiltrate public training hospitals and
future doctors to learn the bloody tools of the abortion trade.
Ground Zero in this new abortion front is New York City, which
trains one-seventh of the nation's doctors. The New York chapter of NARAL
secured the support of liberal Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg to use
taxpayer-funded medical facilities as private recruitment camps. Beginning
next month, abortion training for obstetrics and gynecology residents in New
York's 11 public hospitals will become part of the compulsory curriculum,
rather than an elective that trainees generally eschew.
Ob-gyn residents will spend four to eight weeks in a full-time
rotation on "family planning." Or rather, family reduction. The residents
will learn the whole gamut of abortion methods, from chemical to surgical.
As one online women's publication described it, fledgling doctors will be
trained in new methods that "will move abortion from the operating room to a
'procedure room,' increasing the number of abortions that can be performed
per day and decreasing delays for women who want abortions."
Those who disagree with the abortion-training mandate must opt
out by invoking a narrowly written conscience clause. Abortion activists
make their headhunting agenda of coercion clear. "It is not enough for
training to be available on an elective basis to overworked residents," the
National Abortion Federation argues. "Programs need to set expectations of
resident participation in routine abortion training so that trainees who
exercise a conscience clause provision to opt out become the exception and
not the rule."
New York City is a trendsetter. NARAL is hoping that public
hospitals across the country will follow its lead in using the power of
government to force more doctors to accept abortion as a normal health care
procedure. But there is absolutely no sound medical rationale for this new
training mandate. It is a purely political hammer intended to bully
residents into abandoning their ethical principles. The medical community
has been right to recoil, and must continue to resist the radical
abortionist stance that destroying life should be as integral to a doctor's
mission as delivering it.