Mandating Late-Term Abortion Training for OB/GYNs?

A few months ago, I wrote about the movement to apply a pro-choice litmus test to OB/GYN residency applicants.  The theory is that there aren’t enough doctors willing to perform abortions because Americans are too tolerant of conscientious objection in the medical field.  Conscience protections ought to be thrown out the window to make way for practitioners who are more accommodating of women seeking to terminate their pregnancies.

This week, following the assassination of late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, comes the disturbing suggestion from Hilzoy (via Megan McArdle) that we “[r]equire training in late-term abortion techniques for Ob/Gyn certification.” The idea is to mitigate the risk of violent action against late-term abortion doctors by increasing their numbers, “ensuring that no one person has to take on him- or herself the risks that militant anti-abortionists want to subject them to.”

Hey, while we’re at it, why not launch an Inquisition to purge pro-life doctors from the medical profession?

It’s essential that we continue to train doctors who identify as pro-life, as well as those who are passionately pro-choice.  Here’s what I wrote in my original piece on the subject:

A woman should be able to choose a doctor whose moral compass points in the same direction as hers. Families should know that their doctor shares their values and will remain faithful to them, especially in a life or death situation.  Revoking conscience protections would revoke patient choice, a violation that would offend more pro-choice liberals if they were, at the very least, concerned with being consistent.

Most liberal feminists would balk at receiving gynecological care from a dedicated pro-lifer.  Shouldn’t pro-life women be able to choose a doctor who doesn’t engage in professional practices they find morally objectionable?

There is, without a doubt, a demand for abortion providers in America.  There is also a demand for doctors whose work is informed by a pro-life perspective on abortion, contraception, sterilization, and end-of-life decisions.  It is not the government’s role to decide that one of these categories of professionals should be phased out because it is less valuable than the other.

When did it become acceptable to ask the government to facilitate the subordination of a pro-life patient’s dignity to a pro-choice patient’s dignity?

Mandating that OB/GYNs be able to provide late-term abortions would be a frightening assault on patient choice and dignity.  It’s doubtful that it would save the lives of abortion doctors, but it would most certainly leave millions of pro-life women (and the many pro-choice women who find late-term abortions appalling) without access to medical care that meets their psychological and moral needs.


3 Responses to “Mandating Late-Term Abortion Training for OB/GYNs?”

  1. mingfrommongo on June 9th, 2009 6:28 pm

    I agree that patient choice is very important. But in this case, the choice is between a doctor who is adequately trained doctor, and one who is not. Late-term abortions are only performed in drastic situations. If a woman’s health is endangered by her pregnancy, she is probably also endangered by the travel necessary to find a doctor who is willing and able to help. Forcing a woman to make that trip to save her life would violate that “first do no harm” bit doctors are so fond of. It is important that patients are able to choose a doctor who is ready to do what may be necessary.

  2. Rob Taylor on June 9th, 2009 9:31 pm

    Meh. Hundreds of late term abortions are performed every year yet almost all “medically necessary” LTA stories in the Internet are unverified anecdotes.

    But that’s an aside, by your logic women should be forced to keep guns in the house so that they will be ready to defend themselves when necessary, and several high profile cases of home invasion/rape/murder cases I blogged about could all have been prevented by the victims having access to a firearm. But it is every person’s right to choose to take those steps or not.

    What you’re putting forward is a world where devout Muslims, Christians, Jews and Buddhists couldn’t be doctors. Where religious patients wouldn’t have the choice of seeing doctors they were more comfortable with. Would you state here a Muslim woman who wants to be treated by a religious Muslim cannot?

    But you are saying that, because many religious Muslims wouldn’t perform late term abortions. This is bigotry at it’s most basic.

  3. mingfrommongo on July 8th, 2009 5:55 pm

    Wow. Three times words that I didn’t speak are put into my mouth, then used as reasons to call me a bigot. So much for civil discourse.

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