Abortion curriculum is an issue of education, not politics
Abortion is a divisive and emotional topic.
The mere mention of the word sparks hatred and anger and heated arguments ending in a complete lack of resolution.
To touch on it at the workplace is volatile.
Bringing it up at a dinner party is social suicide.
To discuss it in a college of medicine classroom is crucial.
This month, the University of Arizona's College of Medicine will hold its first class discussion on the subject in nearly a decade.
While the topic is a dangerous one, the revival of abortion discussion in the medical classroom is critical in giving future scientists and doctors a complete education - one that prepares them for the difficult decisions they will face, regardless of political bearings.
The fact that the subject was removed from the curriculum in the first place is a sign of just how emotional people are about abortion. A group of people driven by science and knowledge were unable to hold a discussion about abortion that instructors felt was productive enough to even attempt.
But that was a long time ago, and professors are going to try again.
The most difficult part about making such a decision about curriculum is that just about every person involved has a deeply rooted opinion on the subject. Anyone who lobbies for or against the discussion forum has an inevitable internal conflict that stems from his or her deepest feelings about life and death. The decision instantly becomes a political one.
But, fortunately for UA medical students, this month's forum will attempt to transcend personal feelings and politics and present an informational item of education that is undeniable in the medical field. Abortion - in this instance - is not an issue of Pro-Life or Pro-Choice, but one of reality of the medical field.
Scientific or medical education does not seek to educate students on only that which is moral or politically acceptable. There are more than a few topics out there that are disturbing to many, but are taught nonetheless.
Consider the raging debate over evolution in classrooms, or the curriculum of euthanasia.
Cloning technology is a currently hot issue that lacks any easy ethical answer. The fact that such science is so controversial and unsettling is further reason for its educational discussion.
And abortion is no exception. It is a common medical practice, and involves a decision that shakes millions of people's lives. For a college to turn its back on such an issue would be truly detrimental.
Regardless of a student, teacher or administrator's political and personal views on abortion, its presence is strong. Hopefully, the forum will be successful and lead to a level-headed curriculum on what may be the most volatile issue a doctor will ever come up against.
Otherwise UA's medical students will leave with an incomplete education.