A recent study of advanced practice clinician (APC) training programs, which train nurse practitioners, physician assistants and certified nurse-midwives, found that nearly half of such programs fail to offer training in abortion procedures, options counseling, or post-abortion care. Such haphazard training of reproductive health professionals is believed to contribute to the 87 percent decline in abortion providers around the country since 1982. The survey was conducted by Ibis Reproductive Health, the National Abortion Federation and the Abortion Access Project, and the results were published in the April issue of Contraception.
Many programs that lack abortion training said that it was absent from the curriculum because it was “not a curricular priority,” while others admitted avoiding it because of the politically charged nature of abortion. The authors of the study also pointed to the challenges programs face in incorporating abortion education; there is less opportunity for training, as abortion providers become more scarce and abortion services are offered in specialty clinics, while religious healthcare networks may prohibit such training in their facilities. Melanie Zurek of the Abortion Access Project suggested that abortion training be re-imagined as a component of early pregnancy management, and taught alongside issues such as miscarriage.