Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mainstreaming Abortion Provision

There is a fascinating story in the New York Times about "The New Abortion Providers". http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/18/magazine/18abortion-t.html?_r=2&ref=magazine

While we agree that providing abortion care should be a no-brainer part of mainstream medical care, it may not be as simple as training doctors to provide this care as a part of their own ob/gyn or family practice.

In Midwestern and Southern states, where abortion restrictions are the most severe, lawmakers have been quite successful in punishing doctors who choose to perform abortions. The restrictions have not just been on the clinics, but upon the physicians themselves. These anti-woman laws include requiring doctors who perform abortions to have their offices certified as abortion clinics (and often ambulatory surgical centers), requiring them to maintain exorbitant malpractice insurance, and requiring them to have hospital privileges at a location within just a few miles of where they perform abortions.

The whole idea is to stigmatize the work so severely that physicians will not be able to offer even medical abortions in a private practice.

Another question we must raise is this: Does this movement to get abortion out of clinics and into private offices further promote the stigmatization of abortion? Out of site, out of mind? Is it seen as a good move so that women can more easily hide their choice? So that doctors don't have to tell what they do? While we are all in favor of medical privacy, it is very important that in our efforts to make abortion more accessible we do not add to the stigma. "Mainstream" should mean easy access and no reason to be ashamed.