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An Assessment of Medical Student Perceptions Towards Abortion Education
Purpose: Our study aimed to assess Louisiana medical students’
opinions about abortion education at their institutions.
Background: In 2017, The American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists (ACOG) joined the Association of Professors of Gynecology and
Obstetrics to reaffirm its supportive stance to include abortion education in
medical schools. In its Committee Opinion, ACOG explains that safe and
accessible abortion care hinges on the number of adequately trained health care
professionals who offer the service. Yet, the very inclusion of abortion
education and the extent to which it is covered is often compromised due to
political, religious, and/or philosophical influences of key stakeholders.
Students interested in abortion care often resort to seeking training on an
Methods: Students from all four medical schools in Louisiana
were invited to complete an electronic qualitative survey about abortion
education. Survey questions examined attitudes about the appropriateness of
abortion-related topics; when and if those topics should be covered in medical
school; and abortion training opportunities outside of medical school.
Demographic information and medical specialty interests were collected.
Results: 428 surveys were completed with 28 removed for missing
survey answers. Of the 400 analyzed surveys, 78% of students indicated that
abortion education is inadequate at their medical school. Of those expressing
inadequate abortion education, 79.4% are interested in specialties other than
Obstetrics-Gynecology and Family Medicine. Students cited conferences sponsored
by Med Students for Choice and away rotations outside of Louisiana as sources
for more in-depth training. Perceived barriers to abortion education included
lack of faculty support (66.7%); scheduling conflicts (12.5%); political
barriers (8.3%); and personal beliefs (4.2%). Fourth-year was selected as the
most appropriate time to learn about each of the eight abortion related topics.
Discussions: Medical students deem their abortion education
inadequate. Without comprehensive abortion training, students are unable to
determine their interest in providing abortion services, thereby limiting the
pool of properly trained professionals for this common procedure. Medical
schools should expand their current abortion curriculum to better suit the
educational desires of their students. Institutional support should also be a
key element in abortion training.
CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting, 2021, Student, Faculty, Clerkship Director, Clerkship Coordinator, Patient Care, Medical Knowledge, Systems-Based Practice & Improvement, Interpersonal & Communication Skills, UME, Lecture, Advocacy,