While the number of abortion clinics in the United States has been dwindling in recent years, the number of doctors trained to provide abortions — at least in some areas — is actually surging, according to Reuters. This is due to the growth of two privately funded programs that offer training to nearly 1,000 doctors and medical students on reproductive services such as contraception and abortion each year. However, most who go through the program practice medicine close to where where they train, which often means they are not deployed to the Southern and Midwestern states where women face increasing obstacles to abortion services.
The Kenneth J. Ryan Residency Training Program has introduced or expanded abortion and family-planning training at 85 teaching hospitals across the country. The other program, Medical Students for Choice, gave 137 medical students and residents abortion training this year, double the amount since 2010. For this year’s two-day and three-day trainings the program has received 321 applications so far, surpassing the 228 who applied in all of 2015.
According to Landy, who founded the Ryan program, the resurgence of laws trying to limit abortions is fueling the interest in training. “The more controversy there is,” she told Reuters, “the more motivation, commitment, and passion grows and responds.” Lori Carpentier, who runs Planned Parenthood clinics in Michigan, told Reuters she sees these students as a “new generation of activist doctors.” She added that “they choose to do terminations of pregnancies because it is a deeply held and passionate belief that women should have access to care.”
Read the full story at Reuters.