A New Poll Finds a Majority of Abortion Care Providers Don’t Get the Training They Need

OB-GYN Residency Programs Face Tough Choice on Abortion Training

A new poll finds a majority of abortion care providers report they have not seen training


Sarah Moore

January 04, 2012

The number of abortion procedures performed at facilities with licensed physicians has dropped dramatically over the past decade, according to the federal government. But a new survey suggests that many doctors who offer the procedure also don’t receive the specialized training they need to provide safe care.

Surveys by the Pew Research Center show that the number of abortion providers per 10,000 in 2011 (excluding women who got the procedure at home) was down 3 percent from 2002, when it stood at 30 abortion clinics per 10,000 to 29 per 10,000. But the number of abortion providers per 10,000 has increased in cities with large immigrant populations, according to the Pew Research Center’s annual U.S. Public Health Tracking Poll.

The surveys, conducted during January through April, include telephone interviews of 5,000 residents, and 1,000 women who receive abortions at a facility where a physician provides the procedure.

About three-quarters of abortion providers—75 percent—say they have not seen any training or educational course in abortion care, according to the survey of abortion providers conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, with pollsters at American Trends Research. The responses have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.

The survey also finds that half of abortion providers report they do not receive training or education courses in basic emergency management, and that the same percentage report they do not receive training or courses in legal abortion practice.

Responses on the number of providers who say they receive training or education in abortion care were inconsistent. Among the 5,000 providers polled, only 9 percent said they had received training or education on abortion care. Only 1 percent said they had received any training or education in emergency management.

The number of abortion providers per 10,000 ranged from 21 to 22 abortion clinics, with the vast

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