Aspiring OBGYNs are concerned about proper Roe V. Wade training

  • Several states have imposed abortion bans since the Supreme Court ruled Roe v. Wade lifted.
  • The decision has concerned many medical students interested in becoming OBGYNs.
  • Students said abortion bans could limit their education and their exposure to life-saving care.

Before the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade, Lyle Suh seriously considered becoming an obstetrician-gynecologist.

But now she’s less sure.

“It pushed me away even more because of my own mental health,” Suh, who is a third-year medical student, told Insider. “I really can’t imagine going into an area that’s so heavily governed. As if medicine already has so many things that are out of our hands – that just adds another shackle to what we can do.”

Suh’s experiences are consistent with those of other medical students considering specializing in reproductive medicine, but also recognize that they will be entering a field where they will have to navigate confusing bureaucratic catacombs and a political minefield.

“You’re going to have to take all these hurdles”

Natalie Sorias, a third-year medical student at the University of Massachusetts, told Insider that she is passionate about women’s reproductive health and will most likely continue trying to work in the field despite the challenges ahead.

“I went to medical school and tried to keep an open mind as much as possible,” Sorias told Insider, “but the population I really care about is women.”

Sorias, who also researches female genital mutilation in Cairo, said she noticed that the “people who were kind of neglected were women” and that “inevitably it has an impact on children”.

As a first-generation Egyptian, Sorias said she was disappointed, heartbroken, and angry at the decision to keep Roe v. to fall Wade.

“As immigrants, people come to America and they brag about their advancements and their incredible healthcare and all that stuff,” she said. “I was just really hoping that being in this country would mean being part of the world example of reproductive justice.

protest sign against anti-abortion opponents

Pro-life protesters carry signs as they march in downtown Los Altos, California January 23, 2006. Dozens of pro-life supporters of St. Nicholas Church marched to mark the 33rd anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images


She now worries about attending a residency program in a state that doesn’t offer the full spectrum of reproductive health education, including abortions at various stages, and how competitive programs might become in states where abortion is legal is.

After medical school, students continue their education in a residency program where they become resident physicians. Nearly 44% of obstetrics and gynecology residents — or 2,638 out of 6,007 — are training in programs in states that “certainly or probably do not have access to domestic abortion training” due to statewide bans on the procedure, according to an April study published in the journal “Obstetrics & Gynecology”.

“It’s not just difficult,” said Sorias. “It also increases competition for anyone trying to get involved [Obstetrics]this is gatekeeping, a career that requires more vendors to begin with.”

Eshani Dixit, a medical student at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, echoed Sorias’ concerns.

“It is definitely looking increasingly difficult to ensure that I have access to education that is not only relevant to my desire to become an abortion provider, but is also relevant to the practice of obstetrics and gynecology as a specialty and to ensure that we provide quality care for our patients,” Dixit told Insider.

She said she fears being in a condition where only a medical emergency would allow her to have a legal abortion.

“But I’m nervous because I find myself in situations like this and don’t have the opportunity to properly care for the patients I serve,” she said.

Morgan Levy is a third-year medical student at the University of Miami in Florida, where abortions after 15 weeks are banned with few exceptions, such as to save the life of a pregnant patient.

Levy said she had to consider rotating residency out of state because she was concerned there was a “significant amount of training in the field” that she “couldn’t get just because the procedure wasn’t legal for a patient.” would have gotten.”

“I think that’s a reality that a lot of students will face,” Levy said. “They have to overcome all of these hurdles to find a place where they can actually get the education they’re looking for.”

“We do what is best for the patient”

abortion providers

A general view of an exam room at the Hope Clinic For Women in Granite City, Illinois on June 27, 2022. – Abortion is now illegal in Missouri.

ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images


The Obstetrics and Gynecology study recommended that programs “introduce travel rotations for residents to receive abortion education in states with protected access to abortion.” However, the study found that travel rotations may not be feasible for the large number of residents studying in states with limited abortion access.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, which accredits residency programs, put forward proposals that would require programs in states with abortion restrictions to provide residents with alternative educations in states that do not.

“The proposed revisions help ensure that obstetrics and gynecology residency programs provide residents with the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to practice comprehensive reproductive health care in the United States without the need for a resident, physician trainer, or… a residency program violates the law,” a spokesman for the ACGME said in a statement.

The proposed revisions are open to public comment before being submitted to the ACGME Board for approval.

Suh said she was afraid providers would become too apathetic to patients’ needs since they are now in uncertain circumstances when requesting abortions.

“We do what is best for the patient. We go through the best treatment, then the next,” she said. But she said if she ends up in a state abortion, the amount of her education and the care she can provide is compromised.

She added that she believes doctors need to do their best not to do harm and “when you have completely spelled out laws that prevent you from giving a patient the best possible care, it’s just very psychological.” stressful.”

Suh said even if she ends up in a state that doesn’t heavily prohibit abortion, there’s still a ripple effect.

“Although we are in a state where it is still legal to have an abortion, we are seeing a noticeable increase in the number of people coming in to see what the options are for becoming permanently infertile,” he said suh.

Both Sorias and Suh said they were concerned about the appropriate education all OBGYN residents would receive because states have different policies.

“Every single OBGYN should be well trained and skilled in performing abortion because it is life-saving care,” Sorias said. “So it doesn’t make sense to me that over 50% of the country’s OBGYN providers are in a place where they don’t know how to do it. I would be very disappointed and scared.”

Maureen Phipps, chief executive officer of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said that after Roe’s fall, “the impact on physician education will be devastating and the consequences long-lasting.”

“Medical education should be comprehensive and our trainees must be prepared to meet any patient need with confidence. When 44% of OBGYN residents are being trained in states that now have the power to ban abortions, patients have to ask themselves if their OBGYN has had access to the quality of training we all expect,” Phipps said in one Explanation.

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