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Abortion Laws Influence Medical Residents’ Career Choices

States with Abortion Restrictions See Decline in Medical Resident Applications

As the abortion landscape in the US continues to shift, medical students and residents are facing a new reality: having to consider state abortion laws when choosing where to train and practice.

For Isabella Rosario Blum, this meant looking beyond her home state of Arizona, which has banned most abortions after 15 weeks, to pursue her dream of becoming a family practice physician.

She’s not alone – according to new statistics from the Association of American Medical Colleges, students graduating from US medical schools are increasingly avoiding states with abortion bans and restrictions for their residency programs.

The data shows a 4.2% decline in applications to residency programs in states with near-total abortion bans, compared to a 0.6% drop in states where abortion remains legal.

Medical Residents Shun States with Strict Abortion Laws

This trend is particularly concerning for specialties like OB-GYN and emergency medicine, where training in abortion care is crucial. The decline in interest is also seen in other specialties, indicating a broader problem for states with abortion restrictions.

Medical educators and professionals are sounding the alarm, warning that this self-selection away from states with abortion restrictions will exacerbate existing physician shortages in rural and underserved areas.

Moreover, the lack of adequate abortion training may leave physicians unprepared to manage miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, and other complications related to pregnancy loss.

Students and residents are factoring in state abortion laws when making career decisions, with many opting for states with protected abortion access.

This shift has implications for the medical community, as states with abortion restrictions may struggle to attract and retain top talent. As the landscape continues to evolve, medical professionals are calling for evidence-based practice and human rights to be prioritized in healthcare training and delivery.

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