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Only 1 in 7 Ob/Gyns Now Performs Abortions, Survey Finds
Date:8/25/2011

By Denise Mann
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- The percentage of obstetrician-gynecologists performing abortions in the United States dropped to 14 percent from 22 percent in 2008, a new survey shows.

But the latest numbers, to be published in the September issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, don't necessarily paint an accurate picture of abortion in contemporary America, according to those on both sides of the abortion debate.

Researchers asked 1,800 ob/gyns aged 65 or younger whether or not they provided abortion services and/or had patients requesting such services. Of the 1,031 responses tallied, 97 percent of physicians said patients had come to them seeking abortions, and just 14 percent -- about one in seven -- said they offered such services.

Female ob/gyns were more likely than males to provide abortions, the survey showed. Younger ob/gyns, those from the Northeast, West and other densely populated urban areas, along with Jewish physicians, were also more likely to provide abortion services.

Ob/gyns who were among the least likely to provide abortion services included doctors located in rural communities in the South and Southwest, as well as Catholics, evangelical Protestants and other highly religious physicians, the survey showed.

Access to abortion remains limited by the willingness of physicians to provide abortion services, particularly in rural communities in the South and Midwest, concluded the study authors, led by Dr. Debra B. Stulberg, an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at the University of Chicago.

Southern doctors accounted for more than one-third of the respondents; just 8 percent reported providing abortions.

But there were limitations to the survey, said Rachel Jones, a senior research associate at the nonprofit Guttmacher Institute, which focuses on sexual and reproductive health issues. For example, th
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