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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 individual basis.


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.

Topics: 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,

General Information

Student,Faculty,Clerkship Director,Clerkship Coordinator,
Patient Care,Medical Knowledge,Systems-Based Practice & Improvement,Interpersonal & Communication Skills,
Clinical Focus

Author Information

Simran Mittal, MS, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center; Anwei Gwan, MS; Andrew Chapple, PhD; Valerie Williams, MD; Jaime Alleyn, MD

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