Idaho hospital stops delivering babies because state abortion ban drives doctors away

An Idaho hospital has announced that it will no longer be able to deliver babies because the state’s near-total abortion ban – one of the most extreme in the US – has forced many doctors to quit.

Bonner General Health, the only hospital in Sandpoint, Idaho, said in a statement last Friday that it must discontinue obstetric services, which will be phased out in May.

One of the reasons the hospital said it made the “emotional and difficult decision” to discontinue these services is because the doctors are leaving Idaho.

“Talented, respected physicians are gone. Recruiting a replacement will be extremely difficult,” the statement read.

“Additionally, the Idaho Legislature continues to introduce and pass bills that criminalize healthcare practitioners who are recognized as the standard of care nationally. Consequences for Idaho Doctors who provide standard care can include civil litigation and criminal prosecution, leading to prison sentences or fines.”

According to the statement, the hospital has had a low patient population in terms of children and births, and noted that fertility in the area has declined, making it difficult to attract doctors as so many people leave the state. due to the political environment. .

“Without a pediatrician’s insurance to administer neonatal resuscitation and perinatal care, it is unsafe and unethical to provide routine Labor and Delivery services; despite our best efforts during months of negotiations,” the statement said.

Bonner General serves a community of approximately 57,000 people. According to the Idaho Statesman, once Bonner General stops delivering babies in May, the nearest hospital offering obstetric services will be about an hour’s drive away.

Ford Elsaesser, chairman of the board of directors of Bonner General Health, said in a hospital statement: “We have made every effort to avoid eliminating these services. “We hope to be the exception, but our challenges now are insurmountable.”

Since Roe v. Wade was debunked, the US has seen abortion rights stripped in many states.

In Idaho, abortion is prohibited under most circumstances, except to save the mother’s life or for documented cases of rape or incest. Doctors in Idaho can face felony charges and have their medical licenses revoked for performing abortions.

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