Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New Study Shows Potential Abortion Providers Discouraged

The Guttmacher Institute reports that a new study, published in the journal Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, shows that there are many obstacles to physicians who desire to perform abortions to actually doing so. The study, which will be published in the journal's September issue, conducted in-depth interviews with 30 obstetrician-gynecologists who had graduated anywhere from 5 years ago to 10 years ago.

Of those 30, 18 said they desired to provide abortions in their practice, but thanks to TRAP laws, employer or hospital policies, or social stigma, only three were actually performing abortions in their practice.

The findings of this study remind me of Carole Joffe's book, Dispatches from the Abortion Wars: The Costs of Fanaticism to Doctors, Patients, and the Rest of Us, in which Joffe interviews many abortion providers and noted the endless challenges to them. The conclusions of the study say, "The stigma and ideological contention surrounding abortion manifest themselves in professional environments as barriers to the integration of abortion into medical practice. New physicians often lack the professional support and autonomy necessary to offer abortion services."

Such lack of support is something that Joffe wrote about in her book. Abortion providers often felt isolated from the rest of the medical community, often giving these providers the cold shoulder in professional settings but then urgently sending patients in need to them. In this way, laws that stigmatize or target abortion providers can have a chilling effect on providers among the medical community.

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