California med school to offer first online abortion course
For thousands of years, doctors said they would "do no harm" in the Hippocratic Oath but starting October 13, the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) will launch the first online course to instruct medical students to cause harm to the most innocent of human beings -- the unborn.
"'Abortion: Quality care and public health implications' is the first online course to disseminate high quality, compassionate abortion education around the world," said UCSF in a public statement provided to LifeSiteNews. "This course seeks to engage learners around the world in a thoughtful, insightful and objective discussion on abortion education and best practices, thereby improving maternal health around the globe."
According to the statement, "this free course will provide expert teaching on abortion from faculty at UCSF, the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, and Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health" for a period of six weeks. During that time, "faculty and learners will explore abortion from clinical, public health, and sociological perspectives."
However, the course syllabus indicates the instruction will not solely focus on the medical field. In Week 1, students will learn about the "history of abortion and abortion stigma," while in Week 3 "legislative and policy obstacles to abortion access" will be examined. Week 5 will exclusively focus on "overcoming obstacles to abortion care."
According to Donna Harrison, M.D., executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, "a major concern with this online abortion education is how this course will be used."
"Non-physicians taking the course may learn the rhetoric of abortion," said Harrison, "but they will not be trained in the surgical management of the complications which injure or kill women after abortions." In 2013, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law that allowed non-physicians to conduct abortions.
A spokesperson for UCSF did not respond to LifeSiteNews' questions about potential bias in the online course, such as the use of abortion research organization Guttmacher as two of the three "Suggested Readings." Likewise, language bias in the syllabus -- such as "abortion stigma" and "obstacles" to abortions -- was not addressed.
LifeSiteNews also asked what "myths about abortion" would be answered in Week 4, but the spokesperson did not respond.
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The company providing the online platform for the course, CourseRA, did not return a request for comment about its involvement in the course curriculum nor whether it was concerned about alienating potential clients.
According to the UCSF statement, "while acknowledging that there are many differences of opinion about abortion, there can be no differences of opinion about the need for all women to be supported by their physicians and other health providers as they contemplate important decisions in reproductive health." The statement also says that "the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education requires all ob-gyn residency programs to train residents in abortion and allows individual residents to opt out of doing abortions."
However, even opting out of doing abortions may not leave residents able to completely absolve themselves of what abortion consists of. UCSF's statement notes that "these residents must learn to counsel women, to provide contraceptive care, to safely empty a uterus in the context of miscarriage and emergency care and to provide post-abortion care, such as management of rare complications."
UCSF's website describes itself as "the leading university exclusively focused on health." Among its activities is the "Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Center." In 2011, several faculty members praised a judge's decision that allowed embryonic stem-cell research to be federally funded.