Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Abandoning Hope: young women doctors decline to work in abortion clinics

Carolyn Moynihan
Committed abortion clinic staff are ageing and they worry about who is going to take their place, according to an article in the Fashion and Style section of the New York Times. Anne Baker, head of counselling at Hope (sic) clinic in Granite City, Illinois, has worked there continuously since 1976. She estimates that she has done “abortion counselling” for 25,000 women and girls, some as young as 11. It has been her “dream job…standing by the side of someone who was making a decision that others would condemn her for…and say(ing), You’re a good person making a hard decision…”

The Hope clinic’s director, Sally Burgess, at 50, is the youngest person on the leadership team; the two doctors are in their 60s. A recent survey of 273 abortion clinics published in the journal Contraception found that 64 per cent of their doctors were at least 50 years old and 62 per cent were men. (Women doctors have not seen abortion as their “dream job”.) Two young women doctors came to Hope clinic to train but neither stayed. It’s a similar story at Duluth Women’s Health Centre whose boss, Tina Welsh, is 67 but has been looking for a replacement for three years.

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