Study: Future doctors may avoid states that restrict abortion

DES MOINES — A report finds states that ban or severely restrict abortion are less likely to attract medical school graduates for hospital residency slots. The study from the Association of American Medical Colleges Research and Action Institute found a drop in applications across all residency slots in states that restrict abortion.

The institute’s executive director Atul Grover says the drop was much more drastic for med school graduates looking to be O-B/G-Y-Ns.  Grover says, “But in OB/GYN, what we found was that you were about twice as likely to have US MD graduates trying to avoid those states where abortion was banned, or drastically limited.”

Iowa has one of the lowest rates of O-B/G-Y-Ns per capita in the country. A new Iowa law that bans abortions at about six weeks of pregnancy was temporarily blocked this week by a district judge while it faces legal challenges. Grover says he’s concerned abortion restrictions could increasingly deter other kinds of residents, not just O-B/G-Y-Ns.  “Also, if you think about a specialty, like family medicine, that does a lot of obstetrical care, particularly in rural areas,” he says, “we believe that they will also be disincentivized to go practice in states like Iowa.”

Grover made his comments on the Iowa Public Radio program, River to River.