Iowa’s Old Capitol Building on the University of Iowa campus.
Photo Credit: Bill Whitaker (CC-By-SA 3.0)

On May 5, 2018, the Des Moines Register published “Critics:  Ban threatens OBGYN supply.”

In the latest attack on Iowa’s Fetal Heartbeat Bill, signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds a day earlier, this article relays one of many attempts by the University of Iowa and its allies to obfuscate reality related to this commonsense legislation.

And if we shut down the only OB-GYN residency training program in the state of Iowa, then I would expect that the number would further dwindle and we will see far fewer OB-GYN doctors choosing to locate to the state of Iowa,” laments U of I Dr. Kimberly Leslie, chairwoman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Iowa.

Either the University of Iowa is negligently misinformed or they have not done their due diligence. Their public ranting that they will lose their accreditation, thereby shutting them down, is patently false.

Here are the facts.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) grants such universities accreditation. An apolitical group, ACGME documents what OBGYN programs need to achieve and provide to remain accredited.

According to the ACGME OBGYN Program Requirements, they must:

  • Provide training or access to training in the provision of abortions, and this must be part of the planned curriculum. (Core)
  • Residents who have a religious or moral objection may opt-out, and must not be required to participate in training in or performing induced abortions. (Core)
  • Residents must have experience in managing complications of abortions and training in all forms of contraception, including reversible methods and sterilization.

Further, their Program Requirements state that “Resident Case Log experience with abortions may include a range of surgical or medical uterine evacuation techniques.  This experience can include uterine aspirations, medical abortions, incomplete abortions, missed abortions, therapeutic abortions and elective abortions.”

This range of training clearly includes losses due to miscarriage, not elective abortions alone.

There is absolutely nothing in the Fetal Heartbeat Bill that prevents the U of I from continuing their OBGYN training. Despite all of their public bluster, it’s simply unnecessary for the University of Iowa to continue intentionally killing unborn children, with beating hearts, to meet their accreditation requirements.

Similar pro-life laws have successfully stood in both Arizona and Wisconsin. Arizona’s, passed in 2011, has not caused a loss of accreditation to the University of Arizona over the years since.

ACGME, while apolitical, is simply following the law. 42 U.S. Code § 238n precludes discrimination from healthcare organizations that exempt themselves from training involving elective abortions.

Kudos to ACGME for staying out of politics and focusing on medical training.  Shame on the University of Iowa for politicizing their medical training. At the very least, they should consider registering Dr. Leslie as a lobbyist if she’s going to continue to politicize her position in the field of medicine.

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