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

A small percentage of new doctors applying for OB/GYN residencies are avoiding states with restrictions on abortions, a new study found.

The Association of American Medical Colleges released a study last week that showed the number of medical school graduates applying for residency during the 2022/23 application cycle fell by around 2 percent from the previous cycle while those who applied to states with abortion restrictions dropped by 3 percent.

The biggest drop in residency applications from all states was in emergency medicine, which fell by 21.4 percent.

OB/GYN applicants fell by 5.2 percent overall while in states with near-total bans on abortion, the number of OB/GYN applicants dropped by 10.5 percent.

According to the study, OB/GYN applicants dropped the highest in states with near-complete abortion bans while the lowest drop, 5.3 percent, was in states allowing unrestricted abortion.

But even with the abortion restrictions in some states, the Association of American Medical Colleges found that all OB/GYN residency programs were filled this year.

Overall, the study found that most specialty residency programs filled at similar rates in 2022/23 as they did in previous years, except for emergency medicine, and the number of OB/GYN applicants only “decreased slightly.”

In August 2022, the Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology reported that 44.8 percent of accredited OB/GYN residency programs are located in states that were likely to restrict abortion access after Roe v. Wade was overturned. The journal posited that OB/GYN residents in these states would not have access to “in-state abortion training,” which could have “dramatic implications” for those in OB/GYN residency training.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges study, based on the data from 2022/23, restrictions on abortion “disproportionately decrease the likelihood” that doctors apply for OB/GYN residencies in states with the most restrictions, however, “the effect is small.”