Could pro-life medical students be forced to commit abortions?

By Cassy Fiano-Chesser 

For years now, it’s been clear that only a small minority of people in the medical community are interested in participating in abortion. Whether it’s already-practicing OB/GYNs or medical students, the abortion industry has frequently complained about the lack of people willing to work as abortionists. Does that mean the answer is to force medical students to commit them whether they like it or not? Judging by NPR’s coverage on the issue, it seems this is a possibility.

On a recent episode of “All Things Considered,” NPR weighed how OB/GYNs factor abortion into their career plans and whether or not they’re willing to learn about it in medical school. NPR host Sacha Pfeiffer spoke with Emma Green of The New Yorker, expressing surprise at how few OB/GYNs are willing to commit abortions, even if they otherwise express support for legal abortion.

“You know, I think it’s a correct assumption that in general, the field of obstetrics is pretty supportive of abortion rights,” Green said. “But what surprised me as I started reporting this story is that there’s a lot of variation when it comes to how those doctors and doctors-in-training want abortion to play into their practice.”

Jody Steinauer, an OB/GYN professor at the University of California San Francisco, which has an abortion training program, had a supposed solution for this problem: simply force all medical students to commit abortions.

“All medical students need to learn about abortion,” Steinauer said. “They will take care of patients who have had or will have an abortion. It’s part of the medical experience, the reproductive health experience of our patients. So we have to be able to provide care for them.”

Pfeiffer cited an article of Green’s, which claimed that just 12% of OB/GYN residency programs included abortion training. “And when it comes to the number of doctors actually performing abortions out in the field as a regular part of their practice, that’s far lower than I was expecting it to be,” Green added. “It’s something like a quarter of obstetricians are regularly performing abortions.”

But if a program does include abortion training, what happens when a student refuses? NPR interviewed Ashley Womack, a Catholic pro-life student who would not participate. She felt she was punished for opting out. “I just didn’t want to be involved with that. But everyone knew that I wasn’t going to do that,” she said, explaining, “You know, they had me basically in the recovery room, cleaning chairs, giving patients crackers. Like, what? I don’t want to do this. This is not educational.”

The abortion industry has become increasingly desperate to get more medical students to commit abortions. California is offering financial incentives, including student loan forgiveness if a medical student will agree to become an abortionist. And despite efforts from pro-abortion organizations, abortionists are getting older. There are simply not many people who are willing to make abortion part of their medical practice. It’s so much of a problem that the American Medical Association (AMA) has even discussed eliminating conscience protections, effectively forcing pro-life students to either commit abortions or quit.

It’s clear that the abortion industry feels threatened, and for good reason — but nothing gives anyone the right to force someone to take another human being’s life in the name of medicine.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.