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FACED WITH an increasingly hostile climate, some pro-choice advocates in academic medicine are teaching their students about abortion earlier and in more detail in hopes of ensuring that trained professionals will be available to perform the procedure in the future.
The American Medical Women's Association (AMWA) has developed a 1-month elective for fourth-year medical students as part of its Reproductive Health Initiative (RHI). The pilot program offers students practical experience in a variety of health care settings, observing and participating in counseling and abortion procedures. The program gives equal weight to a number of reproductive health issues, including physician-patient communication, sexually transmitted diseases, contraception, and primary care in fertility.
The development of the course reflects a growing concern about the lack of abortion providers in the United States. The pilot curriculum, created by a 22-member advisory committee of the AMWA, was initiated in July at Columbia University College of Physicians
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