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Doctors Are Avoiding Multiple U.S. States Over Abortion Bans

A new study indicated that some medical school graduates seeking to OB/GYN residency programs avoid states with severe abortion laws.

There was a decrease of about 2% in the number of medical school graduates applying for residency in the 2022/23 application cycle compared to the previous cycle, according to a study published last week by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Meanwhile, the number of applicants from states with abortion restrictions decreased by 3%.

There was a 21.4% nationwide decline in residency applications for emergency medicine.

The number of people applying to become obstetricians and gynecologists declined by 5.2% nationwide and 10.5% in areas with strict abortion laws.

The survey found that states with strong abortion laws had the largest decline in OB/GYN candidates, while those with no abortion restrictions had the smallest decline, at 5.3%.

Despite legal barriers to abortion in some areas, the Association of American Medical Colleges reports that all obstetrician-gynecologist residency positions were filled for the current academic year.

The survey revealed that, with the exception of emergency medicine, residency programs in most other specialties filled at about the same pace in 2022/23 as they had in prior years, and the number of OB/GYN candidates only “decreased slightly.”

After the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, many states may move to restrict access to abortion. In August 2022, the Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology reported that 44.8% of accredited OB/GYN residency programs were located in such states. There may be “dramatic implications” for OB/GYN residents in these jurisdictions since they will not be able to participate in “in-state abortion training,” as the journal stated.

The research by the Association of American Medical Colleges used data from 2022/23 and found that states with stricter abortion laws had a “disproportionately decreased likelihood” of medical school applicants for OB/GYN residencies, despite the fact that “the effect is small.”

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