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December 12, 2000


Communications Department

New National Survey Shows Increase in Abortion Training for First Time in Decades

National Abortion Federation Survey of Ob/Gyn Residency Programs Cites 1996 Training Requirement As Likely Factor

Washington, DC - The availability of first and second trimester abortion training has increased for the first time in decades, according to a National Abortion Federation (NAF) study published in this month's issue of Family Planning Perspectives (Almeling, Tews, and Dudley, "Abortion Training in U.S. Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Programs, 1998"). From 1992 until 1998, when the NAF survey was conducted, obstetrics and gynecology (ob/gyn) residency programs reporting routine first trimester abortion training increased almost four-fold, from 12% to 46%. Routine second trimester abortion training increased even more dramatically, from 7% in 1992 to 44% in 1998.

"This study provides encouraging news about the ability of a new generation of ob/gyns to provide comprehensive reproductive health care to their patients," said Vicki Saporta, Executive Director of NAF. "Since close to half (43%) of American women will choose abortion in their lifetimes, it is essential that the physicians who care for them are able to provide the full range of reproductive health care options, including abortion."

In 1996, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) adopted guidelines requiring all ob/gyn residency programs to include abortion training as a standard part of their education (with exemptions for religious or moral reasons). The NAF survey is the first published study to assess the impact of those guidelines.

"We believe the ACGME training requirement has substantially impacted the availability of abortion training," continued Saporta. "We worked closely with other organizations to make the ACGME aware of the lack of access to abortion training for many residents. This survey confirms that the requirement was needed, and that it has made a difference. Not only are many more residency programs offering routine abortion training, but those programs that aren't are contacting NAF and others to aid them in meeting the requirement."

"While our survey is good news, it still shows that less than half (46%) of the ob/gyn residency programs in the U.S. offer routine first trimester abortion training," cautioned Saporta. "We must remain diligent to ensure that physicians are trained to provide necessary reproductive health care services to the women who need them," said Saporta.


The National Abortion Federation is the professional association of abortion providers in the U.S. and Canada dedicated to ensuring that abortion remains safe, legal and accessible.

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