- Ob/gyns who perform abortions on their own patients
- Abortion specialists who perform primarily abortions at a local practice
- "Circuit riders" who travel, often from state to state, to perform abortions at freestanding facilities
The first category is rare, though it is difficult to estimate how rare. Ninety percent of abortions are performed in freestanding outpatient facilities dedicated to abortion, but how many of the remaining 10% are performed on patients with whom the doctor has an existing relationship, versus how many are performed by abortion specialists, is unclear.
Abortion doctors tend to be older than other practitioners. According to abortion researcher David Grimes, 59% of ob/gyns age 65 and older admit that they perform abortions, while only 28% of ob/gyns age 50 and younger do. More than half of practicing abortion doctors are over the age of 50, compared to the general population of physicians, in which only about 34% are over age 55.
Abortion doctors also tend to be male, though the exact proportion is difficult to determine. Abortion Clinics Online. for example, lists 19 facilities with female abortionists, out of over 239 facilities, which means that slightly less than 8% of the advertising facilities offer female physicians. In the US as a whole, about 33% of doctors are women The paucity of female abortion practitioners is even more striking when you note that the majority of ob/gyns, the specialty from which abortionists would most logically be recruited, are female.
Any licensed physician can perform abortions in the United States. High profile abortionist Robert Crist is an ob/gyn, as were troubled abortionists Moshe Hachamovitch and John Biskind. Abortion entrepreneur Steven Chase Brigham, on the other hand, is a specialist in internal medicine. LeRoy Carhart, who challenged the partial birth abortion ban, is a general practitioner. Troubled California abortionist and clinic owner/operator Leo Kenneally had no specialization. Bruce Steir, who was charged with murder after one of his abortion patients bled to death in the car on the way home, had no specialty and no board certifications.
Only anecdotal information is available on why doctors decide to perform abortions. Some samples include:
- Canadian abortionist Garson "Gary" Romalis credits seeing women suffer and die from criminal and self-induced abortions as his motivation for performing abortions legally and therefore, presumably, safely.
- Notorious Kansas late-term abortionist George Tiller reported mixed motives: honoring the memory of his late father, who had done abortions in his own practice, and the oft-cited motive of wanting to spare women injury or death from criminal abortions.
- Abortionist Martin Haskell, who popularized D&X (or "partial birth abortion"), did an internship in anesthesia, and intended to go into emergency medicine. But, he said, he didn't think that would leave room for him to make a name for himself professionally. After taking a part-time job in an abortion clinic, he thought he could make significant improvements in how abortion was practiced, and thus shifted his focus.
- Chatoor Bisal Singh, who made the news when he botched two abortions, one of them fatally, told the Miami Herald that he didn't usually work at the Dadeland abortion facility, but was "strapped for cash" and agreed to fill in for abortionist Robert Kast while he was away. Singh described himself as "not an abortionist, just an honest, easygoing guy looking for something temporary."
- Former abortionist Anthony Levatino performed abortions on his patients as an ob/gyn because he'd been trained to do so and, until his conversion to the pro-life cause, simply saw it as a treatment doctors provided as their patients requested it
- Abortionist Steven Chase Brigham, having failed as a general practitioner and in his attempts to operate a smoking-cessation clinic, turned to abortion and became a multi-state abortion entrepreneur.
- Brigham's chain of facilities, American Women's Services, recruited abortion doctors with the promise of easy money:
Lucrative opportunity for Physician with progressive pro-choice women’s centers. No on-call responsibility. Any specialty will be considered. All MDs/ODs welcome (including GPs, FMGs and residents). No experience necessary, we will train. Flexible Schedules to accommodate your needs. Great opportunity for MDs in private practice who wish to supplement their incomes, or for doctors seeking a Full-time lucrative opportunity.
- Emily Bazelon, "The New Abortion Providers", New York Times, July 14, 2010
- David Grimes, "Clinicians who provide abortions: the thinning ranks", Obstetrics and Gynecology, October 1992
- Medical Students for Choice
- "U.S. Physician Shortage Particularly Affects Rural Hospitals", Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, February 26, 2008
- Catherine Arnst, "Are There Too Many Women Doctors?", Bloomberg Businessweek, April 17, 2008
- Mary Hegarty Nowlan, "Women doctors, their ranks growing, transform medicine", Boston Globe, October 2, 2006
- Texas Medical Board
- Texas Medical Board
- Arizona Medical Board
- New Jersey Medical Board
- Iowa Medical Board
- California Medical Board
- [http://www2.mbc.ca.gov/LicenseLookupSystem/PhysicianSurgeon/Lookup.aspx?licenseType=C&licenseNumber=24466 California Medical Board
- "Why I am an abortion doctor", National Post, February 3, 2008
- George Tiller at Wikipedia
- "http://www.nrlc.org/abortion/fetal_pain/Haskell%20Cincinnati%20Medicine.pdf", Cincinnati Medicine, Fall 1993
- Christina Dunigan, "Tea and Sympathy", RealChoice, April 9, 2001
- Miami Herald, September 17, 1989
- Anthony Levatino, Meet the Abortion Providers, Pro-Life Action League
- State of New York Department of Health State Board for Professional Medical Conduct, Statement of Charges in the matter of Steven Chase Brigham, January 4, 1994
- Marie McCullough, "Doctor's four-state abortion business under investigation", Philadelphia Enquirer, September 3, 2010
- Job posting, American Women's Center