OB/GYN to Biden: Students Are Using Papayas To Learn How To Perform Abortions

‘A papaya is a very good representation of a uterus.’

Dr. Danielle Mathisen studied obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, where she said she was prevented from receiving the proper training and education in family planning, counseling, and performing abortions due to the state’s conservative stance on the issue.

Mathisen spoke with President Joe Biden at the NowThis Presidential Forum and explained that she believed Texas schools are shying away from teaching abortion care to their medical students “out of fear that that’s somehow aiding and abetting achieving an abortion.”

“I didn’t realize that was the case,” Biden responded.

Mathisen said she and her colleagues created an off-campus, after-hours club that allowed them to study the curriculum that wasn’t formally offered through their university.

“I admire the heck out of you for being willing to get together with other students and teach yourself. I’m curious, how’d you do that?” Biden asked.

“A papaya is a very good representation of a uterus, and you can practice on the papaya fruit,” she responded, adding that they were taught by an outside physician who wasn’t affiliated with her university.

OB/GYN residency programs are required to train students in abortions, according to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. If located in states where abortions are illegal, programs have to provide the training somewhere else.

Many doctors and students are worried that states where abortion is banned or severely limited won’t provide medical students there with the necessary training, leading residents to choose programs in more liberal locations. This could lead to an OB/GYN shortage in conservative states, according to experts.

For more on the intimate conversations between Biden and young change-makers focused on finding solutions to some of the most critical issues facing their generation, head to the NowThis Presidential Forum homepage.