A snapshot of ob-gyn residency abortion training after Dobbs

New research on ob-gyn residencies demonstrates how abortion training is being stripped from residents but also reveals windows of opportunity for improvement.

The paper from researchers at the Bixby Center, Thomas Jefferson University, UCLA, and Aurora Sinai Medical Center looks at the state of abortion training for ob-gyn residents as of December 1, 2022, less than 6 months after the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion. The study begins to expose the reverberating effects of Dobbs on abortion training.

Before the Dobbs decision, they had predicted that up to 44% of ob-gyn residents who train in states without access to abortion in Roe were overturned.
This study found that 23% of residents were in states with total or near-total abortion bans as of December 1, 2022.
These state laws leave 1,364 residents without routine training, and that number may increase as more states pass bans or bans that are enjoined by courts are allowed to go into effect.
Almost 1 in 6 ob-gyn residents who had routine training prior to the Dobbs decision had lost routine in-state training.
Nearly half of residency programs in states with legal abortion lacked routine abortion training despite permissive state policies.

These findings highlight a need for programs in restricted states to outsource their abortion and family planning training. However, sending residents out of state for training increases barriers for residents, whether it be an ability to travel without family, the cost of travel, or licensing and other logistic burdens.

The findings about the lack of abortion training in states with legal access to abortion show an area where institutions and policymakers can work to make training more widely available.