FIGO, WATOG and IFMSA launch joint statement supporting the inclusion of abortion and contraception education for all medical students

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The joint statement of support for the inclusion of contraception and abortion in sexual and reproductive health and wellbeing education for all medical students is the culmination of a collaborative effort between the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) and the World Association of Trainees in Obstetrics and Gynecology (WATOG). 

The statement highlights that the inclusion of contraception and abortion in sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) elements of curricula would provide students with a strong and relevant foundation for their professional lives and prepare them to be competent and caring practitioners. 

Medical curricula often do not include important topics such as sexual violence, sexuality, gender sensitivity, wellbeing and other aspects of SRHR. Inclusion of these topics will contribute to the promotion of positive attitudes towards these issues, particularly regarding abortion and contraception.

– Dr Teresa Bombas, Chair, FIGO Committee on Safe Abortion

Specifically, the statement encourages the inclusion of training around contraception and abortion across all areas of: 

  • basic biomedical sciences 
  • behavioural and social sciences, including public health and population medicine 
  • medical ethics, human rights and medical jurisprudence 
  • clinical sciences (including clinical skills with respect to diagnostic procedures, practical procedures, communication skills, vaccinations, treatment and prevention of disease, health promotion, wellbeing, rehabilitation, clinical reasoning and problem solving).

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are fundamental components of health care. It is important that all medical graduates have sufficient information on all aspects of SRHR to improve the health of women and society. Women should be able to access high-quality accurate information on all aspects of their health care and wellbeing, including contraception and abortion. It is for this reason that we strongly support the inclusion of SRHR – and in particular contraception and abortion – in SRHR education in medical schools.

– Dr Goknur Topçu, President, WATOG

The statement from FIGO, IFMSA and WATOG also includes a model curriculum on SRHR for medical school faculty who should support an inclusive curriculum for all students, as well as students who may use it to advocate for inclusion of these elements in their programmes. 

The curriculum – endorsed by all three organisations – represents the gold standard for a reproductive health curriculum that should be incorporated by all medical schools. 

See the full statement and model curriculum.

FIGO has produced a promotional toolkit for the statement, available in English, with graphics also in French and Spanish. We encourage you share the statement and curriculum widely among your colleagues and networks.