The University of Iowa is misleading Iowans with claims that the "Heartbeat bill," a proposed law outlawing abortion in Iowa after a baby's heartbeat can be detected, would jeopardize the credentialing of its obstetrics residency program because it could not train its residents in elective abortion.
As incoming president of the American Medical Society for Sport Medicine, I have experience with how medical residency training programs are accredited.
All medical training programs in the United States are reviewed by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education, or ACGME, to ensure uniform nationwide training standards.
ACGME’s own written policy stipulates that obstetrics programs have the option of sending their residents elsewhere to train in abortion if restrictions exist, and are free to enter into agreements with programs across state lines where restrictions do not exist.
Passage of the Heartbeat bill would simply force the university to seek alternative arrangements with other institutions. Far from heralding loss of the program, this is at worst a nuisance; but temporary inconvenience is no reason to withhold protections from the unborn.
Fundamentally, Iowans get to determine policy in Iowa – not the ACGME. If legislators throughout America choose to stand up and proclaim the worth of the unborn, ACGME will simply need to adapt its policy. In the short term, residents at Iowa who choose to train in abortion services can cross state lines to do so.
Dr. Chad T. Carlson
Editor's note: Carlson is vice president at American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and owns Stadia Sports Medicine, West Des Moines