Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rule on Abortion Training Is Perplexing Medical Programs Grapple with Mandate

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Rule on Abortion Training Is Perplexing Medical Programs Grapple with Mandate

Article excerpt

A new mandate to provide training in abortions to prospective obstetrician-gynecologists has left some Missouri training programs in a quandary.

For the two local Catholic programs, the question is how to preserve their accreditations without facilitating abortion, which the Catholic Church views as murder.

For the University of Missouri at Columbia, the question is how to train students in abortions when state law bars spending public funds on the procedure.

Even Washington University Medical Center's chief of gynecology and obstetrics, who supports legal abortion, doesn't like the idea of requiring residency programs to teach it.

"This is a form of coercion," said Dr. James Schreiber. "It's going to cause great anxiety and even psychological problems for people who believe it's murder."

At issue is a requirement from the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. The council voted unanimously Tuesday to require ob-gyn residency programs to train students in abortion and all contraceptive techniques. It says such training is needed to assure the safety and availability of abortion.

The council exempted residents with "moral or religious objections" but said institutions with religious, moral or legal objections must arrange for residents to get training elsewhere.

The requirements go into effect Jan. 1. Failure to comply would jeopardize a program's accreditation, which is essential to attract residents and bill insurers.

St. Louis has three ob-gyn residency programs - at St. Louis University, at St. John's Mercy Medical Center and at Washington University. All three train residents to treat complications of abortions. Only Washington University, the sole non-Catholic program, trains residents in non-therapeutic abortions.

The local Catholic programs plan to consult with St. Louis Archbishop Justin Rigali before responding. …

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