The New Abortion Providers
July 15, 2010 11:14 AM   Subscribe

The New Abortion Providers: an in-depth look at the re-institutionalization of abortion training in U.S. teaching hospitals, from the New York Times Magazine.
posted by killdevil (28 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I work at one of the organizations discussed in this piece and have professional connections to just about everything mentioned. This is what I do with my life and I'd normally be thrilled to be the focus of the cover story of the NYT Magazine written by a sympathetic journalist. To be honest - I find this whole piece extremely boring.

There are so many amazing stories that could have been told, and yet somehow the whole thing just comes across as tedious. There's a lot of content in the piece, but nothing resembling a narrative or focus. Maybe I'm just too close to the whole thing, but it seems remarkably dull to me and it's crazy long.
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:23 AM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Very glad to see this is happening. I'm gong to be irritating here and self link to my own comment (number 59) about why the right to choose is such a fundamental one for women.
posted by bearwife at 11:24 AM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes! Very exciting. Also helpful to know some back story, since not many people know what the heck happened after Roe v. Wade.
posted by two lights above the sea at 11:35 AM on July 15, 2010


Warren Buffett, feminist hero.
posted by sallybrown at 11:42 AM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


allen.spaulding I see where you're coming from and respect your right to your opinion, but I totally disagree (which is, duh, my opinion); I really, really like just straight-up facts of the story -- which is probably why I dig Emily Bazelon (the writer of the piece) and though I see the value of the "New Journalism" approach to certain issues, I think there's room enough in the world for both, and the "just the facts" approach is more effective.

There are plenty of people out there who are 100% pro-choice all the way who think the abortion issue begins and ends with what the Surpreme Court decides. Though it seems obvious to anyone that thinks about it for more the a second that abortion can be as legal as possible but it doesn't mean jack if nobody can actually perform them, a lot of people don't think about it for that second. And though I feel like I have a good feeling of how things stand "on the ground" now, I did think it was interesting to see how things got here and what's being done these days.

Again, different strokes, different folks, but I think you're right when you suggest you are bored by the story because you already know it. I'm just glad that it's out there for those who might not.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:48 AM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh thank god...
posted by infini at 12:09 PM on July 15, 2010


Allen.spaulding- respectfully, I think the issue might be that you’re too close to the piece. I found it interesting and informative-I knew that there was a lack of medical training for abortion and that most abortion providers were segregated out into freestanding clinics, but I knew very little about what was being done to bring it back into the fold.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:09 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Family physicians deliver babies, set broken arms, remove precancerous moles. Because they’re more likely than specialists to work in rural areas, they are for abortion-rights advocates the best hope of bringing more providers to the parts of the country where hundreds of miles roll by without one.

This evolution in women's healthcare is important, and not just because so many rural areas stigmatize abortion and lack decent access to family planning centers. When family physicians can provide abortions outside the fraught zones of picketed clinics, when the same doctor who checked out your nephew's strep throat can perform a ten minute abortion procedure, it implicitly validates abortion as an acceptable and common medical procedure rather than a hush-hush trauma alienated from established practice.
posted by zoomorphic at 12:17 PM on July 15, 2010 [14 favorites]


My mother works at a feminist health clinic like those discussed in the article. She's been there over thirty years, during which time the place has been set on fire, bombed with foul smelling gas, protested regularly, and had people take photos and video of the employees and pose as patients only to handcuff themselves to the radiators. And this is in relatively peaceful, libertarian New Hampshire. Unsurprisingly, they've always had a hard time finding a regular, reliable doctor, so these new developments are encouraging. I'll be very interested to hear her take on this article.
posted by schoolgirl report at 12:20 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I also have to disagree with allen.spaulding- I found this piece fascinating. In part because I didn't know any of this. I was under the impression that the doctors who are willing to perform abortions were becoming rarer. This is wonderful to read.

I do however wonder about doctors willing to perform abortions for those late in pregnancy. There was an interesting piece on one of the few remaining doctors who would perform abortions for those who were far along in pregnancy (I'm not going to say how far along, as I can't remember)- I believe it was written soon after Tiller's death.
posted by Hactar at 12:40 PM on July 15, 2010


I think its a great piece, but I'm a little leery of the author's decision to out the funder. Yes, its public record info, but I hope that having the spotlight turned on the source of the funding doesn't make it start to dry up.
posted by anastasiav at 12:46 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are so many amazing stories that could have been told, and yet somehow the whole thing just comes across as tedious. There's a lot of content in the piece, but nothing resembling a narrative or focus. Maybe I'm just too close to the whole thing, but it seems remarkably dull to me and it's crazy long.

In as FFP about abortion, while being an abortion specialist, you instead managed to concisely summarize the failure of modern print journalism.
posted by clarknova at 1:08 PM on July 15, 2010


Nthing that this was interesting without a big narrative. Frankly, it's nice to read a factual piece about abortion practice that's not all about the screaming protestors or making a strong effort to be heartwarming.
posted by immlass at 1:14 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I got through over three years of medical school in California including my Ob-Gyn rotation without a single demonstration or curriculum teaching about how to perform any kind of procedural abortion... except for a non-curricular Medical Students for Choice-organised seminar which showed me early- and late-term procedures, and gave me hands-on experience. I also heard first-hand accounts of what it's like to try to do this sort of thing in conservative-dominated regions where even the local USPS/UPS/Fedex workers will refuse to deliver *any* supplies to some doctors who are then forced to either drive long distances to obtain them or to rely on visitors to keep them stocked.

MSfC does great work despite the calculated indifference and sometimes outright hostility of many medical schools and I'm not sure if that comes through enough in this article.
posted by meehawl at 1:19 PM on July 15, 2010 [5 favorites]


I read somewhere that medical students in the US aren't typically trained on performing abortions, not even the people doing OBGYN rotations and residencies. I can't find the article about that, despite all my googling efforts.
posted by anniecat at 1:41 PM on July 15, 2010


I can attest to the fact that abortion isn't part of the curriculum at my school, nor is it a tested topic on the licensing exams U.S. med students take these days.
posted by killdevil at 1:48 PM on July 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can attest to the fact that abortion isn't part of the curriculum at my school, nor is it a tested topic on the licensing exams U.S. med students take these days.
posted by killdevil at 4:48 PM on July 15


this is mindboggling. that's why need to empower RN midwives more than ever.
posted by liza at 2:14 PM on July 15, 2010


What sort of resources are out there for other advance practice clinicians? I'm really curious to know if there are programs for training/recruiting nurse practitioners and/or nurse-midwives, in the states that don't bar non-physicians from doing medical or surgical abortions.
posted by circle_b at 3:05 PM on July 15, 2010


What sort of resources are out there for other advance practice clinicians?

Clinicians for Choice - run by all the same people written about in the article. The website is abysmal and needs to be updated badly but the information on it is quite good.

Sorry for not being more helpful to those who asked. It's been odd to see all this info in print and still feel like people have no idea what these individual groups do. I try to be helpful in abortion/repro rights threads here and elsewhere.

Ultimately, it's nice to see groups that aren't NARAL/Planned Parenthood getting attention and for people to know that these two groups do not exhaust the resources of the abortion rights community. I hope that I am wrong in my assessment about the readability and how engrossing the piece is.
posted by allen.spaulding at 4:42 PM on July 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I liked the article, for whatever that's worth.
posted by wierdo at 6:11 PM on July 15, 2010


this is mindboggling.

No, it isn't. Abortion is a surgical procedure. Surgical procedures are not taught in medical school. Even common, 'minor' procedures such as appendectomy and herniorrhaphy are not taught. Surgical procedures are taught in residency. If abortion is not taught in Ob/Gyn residencies, that's a different issue. But it will never be taught in medical schools.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 7:18 PM on July 15, 2010


Abortion is a surgical procedure.

Swallowing some mifepristone is a surgical procedure now, eh?

And besides, they make quite a lot of effort to at least acquaint med students with other hot-button issues in medicine, so the total absence of any discussion of abortion seemed like a pretty glaring omission, at least to me.
posted by killdevil at 7:49 PM on July 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


but I'm a little leery of the author's decision to out the funder. Yes, its public record info, but I hope that having the spotlight turned on the source of the funding doesn't make it start to dry up.

If they don't do things like out the funders of abortion training they may as well just fold up the objectivity tent and go home.
posted by Jahaza at 9:33 PM on July 15, 2010


Jahaza, I really don't understand what you're driving at - are you implying that it would be somehow unacceptable to anonymously fund abortion training? Because I can't for the life of me come up with a plausible reason for why this would be the case...
posted by Dysk at 2:26 AM on July 16, 2010


when the same doctor who checked out your nephew's strep throat can perform a ten minute abortion procedure, it implicitly validates abortion as an acceptable and common medical procedure rather than a hush-hush trauma alienated from established practice.

There is a 2 inch indentation on my screen from pushing the favorite button so hard, zoomorphic.

I can see the television commercials now: old friendly Doc Peterson... delivered my 3 children, took care of grandma in her final days, drives his elderly neighbor to church every Sunday... and performed 36 abortions last year.

The crazed antiabortionists would have pink fluid flow out of their ear canals over stuff like this.
posted by discountfortunecookie at 8:19 AM on July 16, 2010


HBO Talks About Abortion In America
posted by homunculus at 9:21 PM on August 2, 2010


Jahaza, I really don't understand what you're driving at - are you implying that it would be somehow unacceptable to anonymously fund abortion training? Because I can't for the life of me come up with a plausible reason for why this would be the case...

I'm driving at the idea that if the author chose not to out the funder because they agree with the cause, then the New York Times, which presents itself in its news pages as objective, would be betraying its trust with its readership.

I also think it's wrong to fund abortion training anonymously, but it's the "funding abortion training" part I have a problem with, not the "anonymously" part. That wasn't my point here, though, nor does it really affect it.
posted by Jahaza at 10:48 PM on August 2, 2010


F.D.A. Approves 5-Day Emergency Contraceptive
posted by homunculus at 10:41 AM on August 14, 2010


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