Policy: Health Care

Question: What do female medical students think of abortion?

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Michael Barone,Health Care,Abortion

Noemie Emery has an excellent article in the latest Weekly Standard on the case of Kermit Gosnell, the abortion provider who has been sentenced to life in prison on three counts of murder. She raises the issue of whether the spotlight on this late-term abortionist–a spotlight shined only reluctantly by most in the media–will change attitudes toward and laws about abortion.

As she says, we will see. But I would like to see some research on two questions.

(1) Do medical schools teach abortion? My understanding is that they mostly don’t and that most physicians do not perform abortions.

(2) What are the attitudes toward abortion by female medical students? They’re about half the student body in medical schools these days. Most are single college graduates–a hugely liberal segment of the population. Do they favor abortion rights? Do they believe late-term abortions should be allowed? Do they study how to perform abortions? Do they intend to perform abortions when they go into practice?

Anecdote. My father was a physician, a general surgeon, who practiced medicine for 54 years. He had rejected Catholicism as a child and was strongly opposed to the Catholic Church’s ban on contraception. One day I asked him if he performed abortions. “I didn’t get into this business,” he said, “to do something like that.”

I wonder if female medical students and young female physicians feel the same way.

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