Source: Washington Post
The impact of Republicans’ efforts to erase reproductive health care access is having a major effect on medical professions, particularly for OBGYNs. According to an analysis from the Association of American Medical Colleges, new doctors applying to medical residency programs were more likely to avoid practicing in states with the most stringent abortion restrictions.
“Everybody is saying they knew this would happen, but this is concerning,” Atul Grover, who leads the association’s Research and Action Institute, told The Washington Post. ”(To policymakers) You may be discouraging some of the best candidates from coming to your state to train.”
For states like North Carolina, in which state Republicans are attempting to pass abortion bans, the decrease in doctors could exacerbate the lack of maternal health care in communities.
For years, rural communities have experienced hospital closures and maternity unit closures. From 2014 to 2019, 13 maternity units or entire hospitals that contained maternity units closed in rural North Carolina counties.
When a closure occurs, alternatives are hard to come by, often resulting in maternal health care deserts – leaving thousands without potentially life-saving care, North Carolina Health News reported.
“It’s going to be harder for our already marginalized patient populations who have challenges in accessing health care because it’s going to be a greater burden on their lives. It’s going to be more of an expense to travel to a different state to take several days of their time,” Dr. Jenna Beckham, who has practiced maternal and reproductive health for more than five years, told Spectrum News.
“It truly breaks my heart. I already see patients who have to try to figure out small elements of basic health care: to get a ride to the doctor, to get a child to the doctor, to miss work when their kid is sick,” Beckham added. “I wish that one of those Supreme Court justices could just sit in a clinic and meet a few people and hear their stories and learn the diversity of reasons and ways how people ended up there.”