Fox News Indignant That A Public Health Course On Abortion Does Not Include Anti-Abortion Perspectives

Fox News expressed outrage over a recently launched online course geared toward clinicians, health care workers, and students aimed at addressing the gaps in knowledge about safe, legal abortion. While Fox demands the course include abortion opponents' perspective, the network ignores the necessity of increasing knowledge about the legal but widely stigmatized and under-served procedure.  

The University of California San Francisco recently launched a new online course to “address abortion care from both clinical and social perspectives.” The course, “Abortion: Quality Care and Public Health Implications” will be taught under the university's Innovating Education in Reproductive Health program, and has the aim to “fill in the gaps left by the exclusion of abortion from mainstream curricula.”

Fox's Adam Housley reported on the university's “web-based class focused on abortion,” on the October 21 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, blasting the class as “propaganda” and lamenting that the publicly funded university is offering the “controversial” course. Housley's report accused the university of launching the course as a tool of propaganda aiming “to get into the minds of younger people” and “to get them interested to want to do abortions.” Host Bill O'Reilly concluded that the course is an “in your face to all Californians who believe that abortion may be morally wrong” because it doesn't include anti-abortion perspectives for “balance”:

But contrary to Fox's accusations, the course actually addresses a significant educational gap that exacerbates women's already limited access to necessary health care services, including abortion.

As the course description explains:

Abortion is a common experience for women around the world; yet, abortion is often excluded from the curricula of health professionals. This course, geared toward clinicians, health care workers, and students, aims to address this gap and will contextualize abortion care within a public health framework from both clinical and social perspectives.

While 30 percent of American women have an abortion at some point in their lives, ThinkProgress pointed out that a third of medical schools do not discuss “elective abortion at all during the first two pre-clinical years, and even some OB-GYN residency programs only offer abortion training as an outside elective.” These educational gaps -- which the UCSF course attempts to bridge -- contribute to the country's shortage of abortion providers.

In an interview with the Daily Beast, course professor Dr. Jody Steinauer explained that she hopes to “inspire even a small portion of the people who take the course to take steps in their communities to increase access to safe abortion and decrease stigma about abortion” -- access that is gravely needed.