Opposition to Creation of a Subspecialty Certification in “Complex Family Planning”


To: Members of the ABMS Committee on Certification (COCERT)

Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the proposal by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology to create a new subspecialty certification in “Complex Family Planning.”

The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) is a non-profit membership organization of physicians and surgeons who are mostly in small, independent practices. Founded in 1943, AAPS defends and promotes the practice of private, ethical medicine. AAPS has members in virtually every specialty and State, and AAPS speaks out frequently about issues concerning patients and medical practice.

We oppose the proposal and fully support the comments in opposition made by the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The creation of this new subspecialty is not only unnecessary but would run counter to the best interests of patients harmed by abortion.
All Ob/Gyns are trained in caring for complicated pregnancies and deliveries as well as stillbirths and spontaneous abortions. There is already a maternal fetal medical subspecialty board certification for the management of high-risk pregnancies. There is no need for abortion training to learn how to manage hemorrhage, uterine perforation, and other complications that abortionists typically send to emergency rooms. Such skills are taught in all gynecologic and general surgical training programs.

All ob/gyns, family physicians, other physicians doing primary care, as well as many nonphysicians, do family planning. If pregnancy occurs, “family planning” has failed. Abortion is not a method of of family planning.

It appears that the unique purpose of this proposed new specialty is to induce fetal death, and the certification is an attempt legitimize and even promote late-term abortion, an action that few ob/gyns are willing to perform for ethical reasons. Moreover, the proposed certification would have the harmful effect of marginalizing every ob/gyn who declines to incur the time and expense of obtaining the newly created certification. In order to perform enough procedures to meet requirements, trainees would have the incentive to pressure patients to abort a healthy, viable fetus. Indeed, “A core learning objective of Complex Family Planning is advocacy.”

The proposed certification would purport to create a specialty for which no medical justification exists. It would be a political creation and nothing more.

It is increasingly clear that certification and maintenance thereof is for the financial benefit of the board, not for improving medical care.

We urge ABMS to reject this application.
Thank you for your consideration,

Respectfully submitted,

Jane M. Orient, MD
Executive Director
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons