Abortion education in medical schools: a national survey

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2005 Feb;192(2):640-3. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2004.09.013.


Objective: This survey was performed to examine the inclusion and extent of abortion education in US medical schools.

Study design: A 3-item confidential survey requesting information about abortion education throughout the 4 years of medical school was mailed to the OB-GYN clerkship directors of the 126 accredited US medical schools.

Results: Seventy-eight surveys were returned, for a response rate of 62%. Overall, 17% of clerkship directors reported no formal education about abortion either in the preclinical or clinical years. In the third-year OB-GYN rotation, 23% reported no formal education, whereas 32% offered a lecture specifically about abortion. While 45% of third-year rotations offered a clinical experience, participation was generally low. About half of schools offered a fourth-year reproductive health elective, but few students participated.

Conclusion: Abortion education is limited in US medical schools. As an integral part of women's reproductive health services, abortion education deserves a place in the curricula of all medical schools.

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced / education*
  • Clinical Clerkship
  • Education, Medical*
  • Female
  • Gynecology / education
  • Humans
  • Obstetrics / education
  • Pregnancy
  • Schools, Medical
  • United States