The Corner

Fewer Physicians Performing Abortions

This month, the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology published survey results that should be of interest to pro-lifers. A recently survey of OB/GYNs found that only 14 percent said that they perform abortions. This marks a decline from their 2008 survey showing 22 percent. Overall, the number of abortion providers has fallen by over a third since 1982. This has reduced access to abortion in many rural areas and it part of the reason why abortion rates have consistently declined over the past 20 years.

The one statistic in this survey that is troubling is that younger OB/GYNs are more likely to peform abortions. About 23 percent of OB/GYNs between the ages of  26 and 35 indicated that they perform abortions. This is interesting because supporters of legal abortion have made a concerted effort to encourage younger physicians to perform abortions. Last summer there was even an article in The New York Times Magazine about well-funded efforts to train the next generation of abortion providers.

Of course, it is possible that younger physicians have always been more likely to perform abortions. However, some percentage quit as they get older due to either stigma or second thoughts. Indeed, the survey found that physicians in the South and Midwest are less likely to perform abortions because of community opposition. Pro-lifers have not been able to ban abortion. However, this article shows that pro-life efforts to rally public opposition to abortion are paying some quiet dividends.

— Michael New is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan–Dearborn and a fellow at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J.

Michael New — Michael J. New is a visiting assistant professor of social research and political science at the Catholic University of America and an associate scholar at the Charlotte Lozier Institute in Washington, D.C.

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