We have a huge medical mess that will cost women their lives and doctors their competence. This realization is what stopped me in my tracks as I listened to Dr. Tony M. Ganzel, Dean of the University of Louisville School of Medicine spoke to the Kentucky Joint Interim Committee on the Judiciary last week.
Kentucky is a “trigger law” state, meaning it outlawed abortion when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Women’s Health Dobbs v. Jackson. The Kentucky committee is concerned that the University of Louisville has funded a staff member to perform abortions with public money.
Ganzel emphasized to the committee that the University of Louisville does not perform abortions at the U of L Hospital or any U of L medical facility. She clarified that no university funds are spent on abortions. The University complies with all laws, both state and federal.
However, and this is where it gets messy, as an accredited medical school, U of L offers training, or access to training, in abortion procedures as part of their OB-GYN residency program.
Every medical program in the country does. For U of L, the training is conducted at a non-university facility but is required of all OB-GYN residents in the program.
Since 2016, the university has had a departmental support agreement with EMW Women’s Surgical Center, one of only two abortion clinics in the state of Kentucky. Both clinics are in Louisville.
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requires knowledge of how to perform an abortion. If U of L did not offer this training, their medical students would have to travel out of state to receive it, requiring additional time and expense.
Surgeons need these skills to care for their patients.
Anti-abortion activists cannot deny that abortion is a necessary component of women’s health care. To do so would be to acknowledge that the loss of an adult woman to complications or an unstable pregnancy is merely collateral damage they are willing to accept in their quest to save a developing embryo.
Women deserve competent medical care.
The US faces a projected shortage of up to 124,000 doctors within 12 years, according to a report published by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Of these physicians, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists predicts a shortage of up to 22,000 OB-GYNs by 2050.
What will happen to medical programs in women’s health if students must travel overseas to complete their program? If your state is a state that outlaws abortion, what does that mean for the educational prospects of your excellent medical programs? What does this mean for women who need access to competent OB-GYNs?
Ganzel stated that if the U of L program did not comply with the mandates for accreditation, that school would first be placed on probation and then lose their OB-GYN program.
Ganzel also noted that residents can choose to receive their abortion training through computer modules. This prospect as a solution terrifies me. I don’t want to fly with a pilot who only landed a plane in a simulator, and I certainly don’t want my surgeon to have only performed a rescue procedure via computer modulation. Please. No.
Women’s health care cannot be made essential.
Almost 50 years of medical care rests on the precedent that was Roe v. Wade. The United States Supreme Court decision has complicated and undermined every protocol, every medical standard, and every right that Roe v. Wade has touched since 1973.
Bonnie Jean Feldkamp’s column is syndicated by Creators.