The University of California, San Francisco is offering a new online course called Abortion: Quality Care and Public Health Implications. Because, according to UCSF, abortion is a common experience yet remains controversial and inaccessible, UCSF feels that courses on abortion should be available to medical students in order to provide easy access to abortion-on-demand around the world.
Beginning on October 13, this six-week course will include lectures from twenty faculty members on abortion including the history of abortion, clinical aspects of abortion, patient-centered abortion care, abortion counseling, and the obligations of providers. UCSF feels that this will ensure that women will have easier access to abortion while teaching future abortion providers how to navigate the abortion restrictions that a public concerned about human life places in their way.
While UCSF says that the course, created by Medical Students for Choice founder Jody Steinauer, was created for clinicians, physicians, and health care workers, there are no prerequisites to take the class. In addition, the suggested readings for the course only include two videos from the Guttmacher Institute and one report from the World Health Organization.
UCSF states in the course description the reason the school believes this course is so important is because most medical schools are lacking such a course. They’re right on that. A 2005 review of US medical schools found that less than a third of those schools don’t include abortion in a single lecture, while a 2009 survey revealed that a third of the medical schools in Canada and the US don’t include abortion in their preclinical courses. Since abortion is often excluded from a medical education for doctors, nurses, and other health care professions, UCSF wants to make sure that they fill that so-called void.
If abortion is in fact excluded from the trainings in most medical schools, isn’t the reason obvious? Abortion is not health care. Doctors are trained on how to save lives, not how to end them. It seems UCSF is working hard to change that.