Abortion Is Legal, but What Percentage of Ob-gyns Will Provide One?
A new study released by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, from main author Debra Stulberg, surveys 1,144 ob-gyns (1,800 were initially approached) to see how many provide abortion services. Though legal, abortion is much harder to come by than one might expect: while 97% of ob-gyns reported having encountered women seeking an abortion, only 14% said they were willing to perform the service.
The authors further break down willing abortion providers based on gender, location, and religious affiliation. Here’s the abstract:
OBJECTIVE: To estimate prevalence and correlates of abortion provision among practicing obstetrician–gynecologists (ob-gyns) in the United States.
METHODS: We conducted a national probability sample mail survey of 1,800 practicing ob-gyns. Key variables included whether respondents ever encountered patients seeking abortions in their practice and whether they provided abortion services. Correlates of providing abortion included physician demographic characteristics, religious affiliation, religiosity, and the religious affiliation of the facility in which a physician primarily practices.
RESULTS: Among practicing ob-gyns, 97% encountered patients seeking abortions, whereas 14% performed them. Female physicians were more likely to provide abortions than were male (18.6% compared with 10.6%, adjusted odds ratio 2.54, 95% confidence interval 1.57–4.08), as were those in the youngest age group, those in the Northeast or West, those in highly urban postal codes, and those who identify as being Jewish. Catholics, Evangelical Protestants, non-Evangelical Protestants, and physicians with high religious motivation were less likely to provide abortions.
CONCLUSION: The proportion of U.S. ob-gyns who provide abortions may be lower than estimated in previous research. Access to abortion remains limited by the willingness of physicians to provide abortion services, particularly in rural communities and in the South and Midwest.
Jezebel.com includes the numbers on abortion providers by religion:
40.2 percent of Jewish doctors say yes, compared with
1.2 percent of Evangelical Protestants
9 percent of Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox
10.1 percent of Non-Evangelical Protestants
20 percent of Hindus
26.5 percent of doctors who said they had no religious affiliation
This year has seen a huge spike in abortion restrictions from state legislatures. According to a Guttmacher Institute survey, of the 162 reproductive health provisions passed in the first six months of 2011, 80 restrict abortion, twice the number from 2005.