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A Lack of Doctors


Via Megan Carpentier, Patricia Meisol has a very interesting article about the small number of medical practitioners who choose to become aboriton providers. One factor is the fact that the skills are not easily acquired at many medical schools (“Even in Maryland, where about 61 percent of voters approved a referendum guaranteeing abortion in 1992 and which has the fourth-highest abortion rate in the country, abortion is not taught in any formal lectures at the state’s flagship medical school.”) Another important factor is the lingering effects of the terrorism directed at abortion clinics in the 80s and 90s:

Regardless of specialty, doctors who perform abortions sign up for a lifestyle unlike any other in medicine, a subculture replete with drawn blinds, shredders, and security guards at professional conventions. Violence against abortion providers has declined markedly since the 1980s and ’90s, when several doctors were killed or injured in shootings across the country and scores of clinics were torched or bombed, according to abortion federation data.

Myron Rose, a longtime College Park abortion provider who spoke at the seminar Lesley attended, wept as he described the difficult search for new office space after his clinic was firebombed in 1984. But that, he assured Lesley and the other medical students, was “antique times.”

Even so, those involved with abortion remain extremely cautious. Doctors take cover in the anonymity of large hospitals and debate whether to take their spouses’ surnames and how best to protect their children. Some avoid speaking publicly about abortion.

It is true that the legislation passed during the 90s was very effective at curtailing violence, but the precautions that abortion providers still have to take continues to have a chilling effect on the number of doctors willing to provide the service. Somehow, I’m inclined to think that the ongoing effects of this much more recent and successful terrorist campaign is more relevant to contemporary politics than Bill Ayers.

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