NRL News

New Study Finds Fewer Ob-Gyns Willing to Do Abortions

by | Aug 29, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

What a wonderful concluding paragraph: “The proportion of U.S. ob-gyns who provide abortions may be lower than estimated in previous research. Access to abortion remains limited by the willingness of physicians to provide abortion services particularly in rural communities and in the South and Midwest.”

So concludes ”Abortion Provision Among Practicing Obstetricians-Gynecologists,” a study published in the September issue of the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.

How low?

97% of practicing ob-gyns encountered women seeking abortions, but only 14% provided them, according to a national probability sample mail survey of 1,800 practicing ob-gyns.

“Those who perform abortion tend to be female, less religious, live in urban areas, and live in the Northeast or West,” according to Stulberg et al.

(For comparison purposes, a 2008 study by Steinauer et al. found that 22% of ob-gyns board-certified between 1998 and 2001 provided abortions.)

Indeed, while there are limitations to the survey (see below), religion, sex, age, and geography seem to be solid predictors whether a physician will pollute their skills. From the least willing to the most willing

·         1.2 % of Evangelical Protestants

·         9 % of Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox

·         10.1% of Non-Evangelical Protestants

·         20 %  of Hindus

·         26.5 % of doctors who said they had no religious affiliation

·         40.2 % of Jewish doctors

Likewise, going on twice as many female physicians (18.6%) as male physicians (10.6%) would perform abortions.

In terms of age, doctors ages 26 to 35 are the most likely to offer abortion, followed by the oldest doctors–ages 56 to  65—according to the survey.

Interestingly—given how Planned Parenthood increasing targets Hispanics—only 8.4% of “Hispanic or Latino” physicians will perform abortions.

As noted above, there are limitations, some more obvious than others. For example, as Stulberg et al. note, they did not survey other clinicians, such as family physicians “who provide a significant minority of abortions.” That would mean an undercount.

Coming from the other side, possibly inflating the numbers, “we make the assumption that ‘abortion’ refers only to viable pregnancies, whereas some might apply the term abortion to procedures such as removing an ectopic pregnancy or an inevitable miscarriage.”

That only one in seven ob-gyns will perform abortions is reassuring news. The flip side is that abortion proponents will use this as reasons why conscience clauses must be eliminated completely, or effectively neutralized.

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Categories: Abortion