Abortion has been legal since the 1973 United States Supreme Court decision in Roe versus
Wade. Since 1973, there have been nearly 53 million abortions performed, with 1.06 million abortions in
2011 . In 2011, the abortion rate was the lowest since 1973, with 16.9 abortions per 1000 women age 15-
44 years . Although the abortion rate had declined, the unintended pregnancy rate remained constant at
50% and almost half of these pregnancies resulted in abortion . There has been a consistent demand for
abortion services; however, the number of U.S. abortion providers declined 4% between 2008 (1,793) and
2011 (1,720) .
Studies have shown that physician intent to provide abortions prior to residency training and sufficient abortion training in
residency are positively associated with future abortion provisions after residency [4-6]. Abortion education in medical
school and abortion training in residency are thus essential to continued access to safe abortion services for women.
This article will provide a brief history and update of the current state of U.S. abortion education, focusing specifically on
education and training of physicians.