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Potential impacts of abortion ban could lead to OBGYNs leaving North Carolina

Other states where there is a near-total ban on abortions have seen maternal health get worse.

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina residents are still digesting the override of Governor Roy Cooper's veto on a bill that bans most abortions after 12 weeks.  Lawmakers in the state House spoke on the mass exodus that some states are seeing after near-total abortion bans were pushed through.  

In the midst of a healthcare worker shortage, representatives in the House are questioning how the state will fill holes now that SB 20 is set to become law on July 1.  According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), new doctors applying for residency programs are skipping states with stringent abortion restrictions.

"These are doctors that we want to keep here to care for our wives, our mothers, and our daughters," said Rep. Maria Cervania (D) from District 41

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She berated the chamber during the vote on Tuesday night, articulating a potential issue for North Carolina that has already been seen in other states.

Rep. Cervania continued: "We've seen that those already practicing in states with enforceable abortion bans like Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana are seeing a mass exodus when it comes to OBGYNs and maternal health care workers."

According to the AAMC, new applicants looking for medical residency programs are more likely to avoid practicing in states with near-total abortion bans. OBGYN residencies saw the largest nationwide decline at more than 5%.  The AAMC found that in those states with very strict laws on abortion, there's a 10.5% decrease in OBGYN applicants, usually fearing for their medical license or the potential of a felony in some states.

Abortion politics expert Susan Roberts at Davidson College agrees. She's been researching for implications of laws like this for decades.

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"More and more medical schools around the country are not teaching procedures or access to abortion, and that is problematic," she said.

Roberts believes this potential shortage could greatly impact maternal health, especially for those that are at the highest risk of complications. 

Roberts told WCNC Charlotte, "It is debated about whether or not there's a penalty for doctors but there are some repercussions with the medical board that doctors are cognizant of as well."

Contact Colin Mayfield at cmayfield@wcnc.com or follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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