Remember the oft-repeated mantras, “Abortion should be between a woman and her doctor” and “abortion should be safe, legal, and rare”? These are rapidly changing.
Today, the industry has lowered the standard of care for women by passing laws allowing non-physicians to commit abortions — including nurses, certified nurse-midwives, and physicians’ assistants. The move has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with the fact that fewer and fewer doctors wish to provide abortions.
Below is a timeline that shows the decline over the years in the percentage of physicians who were willing to commit abortions:
1985 – Writing in the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health in 1993, Philip Darney referenced a 1985 survey of Fellows of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists which revealed that only 34% did abortions. “84% said abortion was necessary in at least some circumstances, whereas only 13% said it should never be done. These figures are little changed from a survey of 14 years earlier.”
2007 – A survey of OBGYNs published by the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (AJOG) in 2007, found that of 2,149 respondents, only 22% had provided elective abortion in the previous year. “Abortion training in obstetrics-gynecology residency programs declined from 1985-1992, and the number of providers declined by 70 per year from 1992-2000,” the authors wrote. Out of 474 abortion provider responses, 319 (67%) were female.
2008-2009 – A survey which queried 1,800 practicing OBGYNs from October 2008 to January 2009 was published by ACOG’s Green Journal in 2011. Responses from 66% of those surveyed revealed that just 14% performed abortions, citing how “abortion training decreased steadily over the two decades before 1996” as a reason. Of abortion provider responses, 60.7% were female and 39.3% were male.
2010 – Efforts to increase abortion training began. A 2010 report published by New York Times Magazine detailed an effort to increase abortion providers. She wrote:
In 1999, Uta Landy, a former director of the National Abortion Federation, and Philip Darney, her husband and an OB-GYN professor at U.C.S.F., created the Kenneth J. Ryan Residency Training Program. The program gives medical schools two or three years of seed money for abortion training for OB-GYN residents…. The money for the Ryan and the Family Planning Fellowship comes from one foundation and from one family. The donor has chosen to remain anonymous, which helps to explain why there’s been so little publicity about the pro-choice strategy of bringing abortion into academic medicine. It has been covered by a veil of semisecrecy.”
But further down in the piece Bazelon noted the “anonymous donor” to the Ryan and Family Planning Fellowships was the Buffett Foundation, an original investor in abortion pill manufacturer DANCO Laboratories. The Buffett Foundation funds abortion expansion today:
In the course of my reporting, two doctors who had not done the fellowship themselves, but who work in universities, volunteered to me that the money for the programs comes from the Buffett Foundation…Warren Buffett gave the foundation about $3 billion. He said that he expected the gift to increase the foundation’s annual expenditures by $150 million. And in fact, total giving by the foundation, where two of the Buffetts’ children sit on the board, increased from $202 million in 2007 to $347 million in 2008, according to tax returns…In 2006, Buffett announced his $3 billion gift to the foundation in a letter that’s written in a kind of code.
2016-2017: Buffett’s investment into the previously mentioned Ryan abortion training program likely led to an uptick in abortion providers between 2009 and 2016, and a report published in 2019 by the LA Times cited a more recent survey of U.S. OBGYNs. That cross-sectional survey conducted from 2016–2017 from a national sample of ACOG Fellows was published in ACOG’s Green Journal. It found:
- Fewer than “1 in 4 were willing and able to perform an abortion.”
- 1 in 3 cited “personal, religious or moral reasons for not providing abortion services.”
Among those seeing patients of reproductive age, the survey concluded:
- 24% reported performing an induced abortion in the prior year (31.7% male/68.4% female).
- 10.4% provided surgical and medication abortion.
- 9.4% surgical only.
- 4.0% medication only.
Authors were connected to pro-abortion groups — Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH), Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, at UCSF, Ibis Reproductive Health (directly funded by DANCO at that time), and the American College of Obstetricians (ACOG), among others, including abortionist Daniel Grossman. The study was funded by the Society of Family Planning Research Fund (SFPRF), financed heavily by the Buffett Foundation.
Authors wrote that at that time, ACOG, a pro-abortion organization, represented “approximately 90% of practicing U.S. obgyns and has more than 58,000 members.”
The authors of the 2016-2017 survey also delved into numbers of providers of the abortion pill and found that just “fourteen percent provided medication abortion in the prior year; among these providers, 58.1% used the combined mifepristone–misoprostol regimen, 41.9% used misoprostol alone, and 10.5% used methotrexate and misoprostol.”
Opposition to providing the abortion pill detailed by reason, as follows:
- 34% cited personal, religious, or moral beliefs against abortion
- 19% pointed to practice setting restrictions against abortion provision
- 16% mentioned office staff attitudes
- 10% said there was no perceived need
- 8% said their patients had access to another provider or they referred out
- 11% cited a lack of training or requirement to stock the medications
- 9% cited requirement to sign the provider agreement with the manufacturer of mifepristone
Today’s push for so-called “self-managed abortion” and removal of important FDA safety requirements (REMS) from the abortion pill raises the possibility of transforming average working people into ‘abortion providers’ of sorts. Pharmacists, postal carriers, parcel delivery drivers, schools, and questionable online websites could someday soon tragically find themselves unwittingly participating in the killing of preborn children.
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