Among the workers we’re short of in South Dakota are OB-GYNs. Makenzie Huber reports that 46 of South Dakota’s 66 counties have no doctors providing handling pregnancy and women’s health, and our abortion ban may make that shortage worse:
South Dakota is facing a shortage of OB-GYNs and is a leading state for maternity care deserts, which is a county without a hospital or birth center offering obstetric care. [Avery] Olson wants to be part of the solution, but she hesitates. She worries the state’s abortion laws will serve to worsen the shortage, leaving future South Dakota OB-GYNs to bear heavier workloads while some rural women’s health care needs are neglected.
…“Where I’m training, there are maybe two out of the 28 residents who would consider working in a state that has restrictive laws in place for women’s health care,” said Olson, who is a resident physician at the University of Hawaii. “That’s because I’m from South Dakota and the other is from Texas. The rest of them wouldn’t even touch South Dakota”
…In a national survey of more than 2,000 medical students, residents, fellows and practicing physicians through social media, three-fourths of respondents said they would not apply to states with legal consequences for providing abortion care, and more than 80% would prefer to train or practice in states with preserved abortion access, according to a study published in February in the Journal of General Internal Medicine [Makenzie Huber, “South Dakota Has a Women’s Health Care Shortage. The Abortion Ban May Worsen It, Physicians Say,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2023.05.15].
South Dakota’s radical conservative leaders may revel in saying “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out!” to the folks they brand as “liberals” who leave South Dakota for more liberty, equality, and opportunity elsewhere. But we’re not just booting hippies out of the bunker; we’re driving away the professionals that everybody, regardless of political persuasion, relies on for basic societal function. Even conservative women need gynecologists, and conservative South Dakota women won’t feel all that free if they have to wait weeks to see the one of the last couple OB-GYNs in Sioux Falls.