Texas universities are sending medical students out of state to learn abortion procedures.
According to an article in the Houston Chronicle, Texas state obstetrician-gynecology residency programs used to have young doctors and residents do rotations at the local Planned Parenthood to gain experience terminating the lives of preborn babies. After the passage of Texas’ pro-life law in 2021, however, that is no longer an option. The solution? Send them out of state.
Schools are hiding behind an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) guideline — written in 1994 but never enforced — that requires programs to offer OBGYN students opportunities to perform hands-on abortions. The guidance was recently updated in 2022 after the Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. ACGME statements made to the Chronicle suggest that the guidance could become a problem for pro-life medical students in the future. The strong implication seemed to be that as long as a school had an out-of-state travel program or was making “progress” towards providing opportunities for hands-on abortions for residents, it would not be adversely affected.
Pro-life programs, however, might not be so lucky.
“A single citation is unlikely to affect a program’s accreditation status, provided the program demonstrates progress in addressing the issue,” the group said, according to the Chronicle. “The ACGME recognizes these are challenging times with complex issues.”
Proponents of the change say that miscarriage training doesn’t provide enough “volume” for residents to learn thoroughly enough, and claim that it could be a problem when doing emergency miscarriage management, or when providing a “necessary” abortion to save a mother’s life. However, as AAPLOG explains, induced abortion is not health care and is never medically necessary.
The AAPLOG has strongly objected to the ACGME “requirement” both past and present for residents and medical students to directly and intentionally take the lives of preborn babies. In a state where abortion is banned, AAPLOG argues that miscarriage management should be sufficient training, since D&C procedures are performed both for miscarriage management when the baby has died, and also on a living baby in an abortion. (The latter is an induced abortion, and the former is not.)
“The ACGME’s requirements forcing training in elective abortion are coercive and discriminatory against pro-life residents and medical institutions,” said CEO of AAPLOG, Dr. Donna Harrison, in a statement, according to journalist Merrill Goozner. “This coercion is for no medical reason whatsoever, as OB-GYN residents have ample training emptying a uterus at any gestational age when the baby has already died in miscarriages. It is entirely unnecessary and violates conscience rights to refuse certification to medical institutions whose values do not allow for the intentional killing of preborn human beings for no medical reason,” she said.
Additionally, while some of the schools – such as Baylor and Houston Methodist – are private institutions, the participation of publicly funded state schools may be a concern to taxpayers.
Texas’ oldest medical school, The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), is a public university and is one of the schools mentioned in the Chronicle’s article arranging out-of-state travel for medical residents. According to the Chronicle, sending two students to Oregon to commit abortions incurs the following costs: “$5,216 for housing, $1,689 for airfare and airport transportation, $240 for parking and $370 for training permits.” While a national initiative to support “family planning” training called the Ryan Residency Training Program pays for $1500 per student, the remaining $6,000 comes from the university, which is in addition to the up to nine months of planning by staff and administrators.