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OB GYN Standards for Certification Clarification

September 21, 2022


The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) establishes the standards for voluntary certification in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB GYN) and offers certification and continuing certification to qualified candidates. The standards for certification are outlined in blueprints for the Qualifying and Certifying Examinations and are evidence-based on surveys of practicing specialists in periodic job-task analyses. The knowledge, judgement, and skills required to practice as an OB GYN specialist reflect the contemporary practice of obstetrics, gynecology, and women’s health.


ABOG is clarifying its standards to assure consistent experiences in residency training of candidates in any state preparing for practice and certification. During the 48 months of residency training, residents seeking ABOG certification will be required to have satisfactorily completed a minimum of two months, two four-week blocks, or the equivalent of these experiences in family planning (also called comprehensive reproductive health care). This includes abortion-related health care. This represents approximately 4% of the time in residency and correlates with proportion of these areas in the testing blueprints for OB GYN certification.


The required experience must include the following:

  1. A structured curriculum that provides both didactic activity and clinical patient care experiences in comprehensive family planning (reproductive health care) including abortion-related health care.
  2. Didactic instruction and clinical patient care experience in:
    • all forms of contraception including surgical methods of reversible and permanent sterilization;
    • patient education and counseling about available procedural and medical abortion methods; and
    • management of abortion complications.



Residency programs are encouraged to use simulation in contraception and procedural abortion to augment clinical experiences. Residency programs, faculty members, residents, and candidates for certification should not provide care or perform procedures that would violate state laws unless necessary to save a pregnant person’s life or to prevent morbidity.


This standard does not force residents and candidates for certification to perform abortions if they have religious, moral, or ethical objections. However, the ABOG Qualifying and Certifying Exams will assess essential knowledge, judgement, and skills required to practice OB GYN as a board-certified ABOG Diplomate. Further information is available on this in the current Qualifying and Certifying Examination Bulletins and at abog.org.


Residency Program Directors will be required to attest that graduates of their residency programs have met this requirement through the verification of satisfactory completion of residency training. See Residency Training Affidavit example.


The ACGME has outlined residency program standards for accreditation in the ACGME Program Requirements for Graduate Medical Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Programs and residents can refer to these standards to understand how to meet the certification standards in situations where institutional policy or state law may restrict or prohibit provision of some essential family planning (comprehensive reproductive health care) including abortion.


These standards for ABOG certification are effective July 1, 2022. They will apply to residency graduates of the 2022-2023 Academic Year seeking ABOG Obstetrics and Gynecology certification.