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In 2022, the Supreme Court overturned its previous ruling in Roe v. Wade, effectively ending federal protections for abortion. Quickly after, many states enacted abortion restrictions or outright bans. Abortion bans are harmful public policies that are impacting the availability of OB-GYNs for many reasons, including the threat of criminal prosecution. This has led to a dearth of healthcare access for millions of women in 21 abortion-restricted states, as OB-GYNs move out of state and new medical residents choose to practice elsewhere. A literature review and interviews with three key informants were conducted to explore this issue. Key informant interviews focused on the post-Dobbs landscape for women’s healthcare, the impact of reproductive care restrictions on healthcare providers and patients, and future prospects. Findings show that both practicing and resident OB-GYNs are choosing not to work or train in abortion- restricted states. Qualitative results revealed the psychological toll of abortion bans on all healthcare providers and widening socioeconomic disparities. Barriers to keeping OB-GYNs in state also include restrictions on their autonomy and threat of criminal liability. No agency or governmental organization has proposed a policy solution to this problem. Primary solutions have come from physician-led organizations. These groups are building coalitions to lobby state policymakers against abortion bans and campaign for ballot measures in favor of abortion rights. These findings have implications for the future of women’s healthcare. If policymakers are unwilling to propose solutions and physician-led organizations are unsuccessful in their efforts, millions of women will lose access to routine gynecological care, not only access to abortion.

Faculty Advisor(s)

Mary Lou Ciolfi, JD, MS

Publication Date


Where have all the OBGYNs gone? An investigation into the effect of abortion restrictions on availability of women's health providers



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