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(Live Action) — The Idaho Capital Sun on April 5 reported that the state has been experiencing a “doctor shortage” and claims it’s due to the state’s pro-life law.

The news outlet stated that doctors are being pushed out of the state by a law which says they can’t kill preborn children without medical cause. (Induced abortion, which is the intentional and direct killing of a preborn child, is not medically necessary.) It claims they fear prosecution, yet, no doctor has been prosecuted or charged under the pro-life law, and no woman has died. In addition, Idaho isn’t the only state experiencing a decline in its number of OB/GYNs… and it isn’t just losing OB/GYNs.

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The claim

Despite these facts, the Capital Sun reports, “Idaho medical leaders say the workforce shortage is exacerbated by doctors’ confusion about how to practice medicine under Idaho’s abortion ban that only allows abortion if it is needed for the mother’s life – not their health.”

As a result, some legislators are pushing for the sole exception to the law – abortion to save the mother’s life – to be relaxed. The Idaho Medical Association wrote draft legislation for a maternal health exception that would allow abortion to protect a woman’s health, but that effort allegedly stopped when the U.S. Supreme Court decided to take Idaho’s case regarding the law. In January, the Supreme Court said Idaho can enforce its pro-life law while the legal fight to stop it continues.

In the meantime, abortion advocates in Idaho are making a big assertion – that doctors aren’t smart enough to understand the difference between intentionally killing a preborn child and valid medical treatment during a pregnancy-related emergency – and therefore, they are leaving the state.

Killing vs. delivering

An example given is that of a woman whose water breaks early and who shows signs of infection. The news outlet claimed this would necessitate “terminating the pregnancy,” but according to experts, the treatment for infection due to preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) is the delivery of the child, not the killing of the child.

Preterm delivery in an emergency is not classified as an induced abortion and is not prohibited by the law.

Dr. Christina Francis, CEO of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), previously explained in a statement to Live Action News that the treatment for PPROM is to admit the woman for observation to monitor her for any signs of infection or bleeding – not to induce an abortion.

“There are signs of developing intrauterine infection that any physician who is well-trained in obstetrics can identify long before sepsis develops,” she said. “This is why these patients are monitored very closely and often as inpatients, at least for a few days.”

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Delivering a baby early to save a woman’s life is not an abortion. There is a clear difference between intentionally killing a child in the womb and delivering a child early and providing her with adequate health care. There is a standard of care for every pregnancy complication – and killing is not it.

Though knowing the difference between killing a preborn child and delivering a preborn child seems like common sense, Dr. Megan Kasper, an OB/GYN in Idaho, told legislators that the law is forcing her to consider other solutions to potential pregnancy complications for her patients. She recently had a patient who was experiencing contractions and a dilated cervix, but she was weeks from viability. She admitted that Idaho’s pro-life law didn’t change how she took care of the patient, but that it made her “have to think about” it.

She said:

What did I need to do to keep myself and the whole health care team out of trouble?

What was going to be my threshold for her health status?

If she started bleeding, how much bleeding was I going to tolerate?

At what point would her bleeding be enough that I would feel competent saying, ‘OK, this is life threatening?’…

I would, as a physician, not have a whole lot of room for anything going in the wrong direction. I would say ‘All right, this is starting to go not well. We need to step in and intervene and keep you miles away from anything life-threatening.’

… now, I have to think about that.

Though no official diagnosis appears to have been offered to the legislators by Kasper, it sounds like the patient may have been experiencing an incompetent cervix. Dr. Christina Francis, board member and CEO-elect of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, previously explained to Live Action News that in such cases, “if infection is ruled out, women can be treated with stitch, called a cerclage, which is placed in her cervix to hold the unborn baby in until he or she can survive outside the mother. An attentive physician should be able to detect signs of infection early and, if present, provide the appropriate treatment – which would be induction of labor. This treatment is not prevented by any abortion restriction in the country.”

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A 21-year-old study on the use of a cerclage in cases of incompetent cervix when the amniotic sac is prolapsing found that “If antibiotic and tocolytic treatment was successful in stopping local infection and contractions, EOCC is an acceptable and mostly successful procedure to prolong pregnancy.”

It’s unclear whether Kasper wasn’t previously thinking about the different possible outcomes of pregnancy complications prior to the pro-life law taking effect. It’s also unclear whether she was treating her patient’s preborn children as second patients, fighting for their lives as well as their mothers’. But it seems that she believes induced abortion – intentionally killing preborn children – is a medical treatment.

No doctors are being prosecuted

Rep. Brent Crane, who chairs the Idaho House State Affairs Committee, met with Idaho doctors about the supposed concerns – and said he thinks attorneys are being dishonest about how the pro-life law works. He pointed out that no doctor has been charged or prosecuted.

“I think that there’s still a push to try to undo Idaho’s abortion statutes,” he said. “And they’re using doctors, OB docs, as a pawn in this political game, and I’m tired of it. Be honest with your doctors. Let them know the provisions that have been put in place by the Idaho Legislature. There are provisions that are clearly spelled out.”

Idaho is not alone

The Idaho Capital Sun states that according to the Idaho Physician Well-Being Action Collaborative, Idaho has lost 22 percent of practicing OB/GYNs since its pro-life law took effect following the overturn of Roe v. Wade in June 2022. However, Idaho isn’t alone; maternity care deserts are a problem throughout the U.S., and it’s not because of pro-life laws.

Joel Webb, operations director for a pregnancy resource center, noted:

Fundamentally, the problem of closing maternity wards and consolidation of OB/GYNs leaving large swaths of the nation as maternity care deserts comes from our culture that does not appreciate or value life. Our society has prioritized comfort and material goods over the gift that life brings. With young people holding off marriage, and even when they do get married choosing deliberately not to have kids (as seen with the DINK trend on social media); one of the key building blocks of our society is being ignored. That is, having and raising the next generation.

He argues that with the birth rate in the U.S. well below replacement value, it’s to be expected that the services related to pregnancy and childbirth would be declining. It’s basic supply and demand.

READ: Nations that embrace abortion inevitably support euthanasia: here’s why

Plus, most OB/GYNs don’t even commit or refer their patients for abortions. A 2017 study by the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute found that “Only 7% of U.S. obstetrician-gynecologists who work in private practice settings provided abortions in 2013 or 2014,” and “[a]mong those who did not provide abortions, 54% reported that they did provide referrals to a facility or practice where a patient could obtain an abortion. However, more than one-third (35%) said that they would not provide a referral for a patient seeking an abortion.”

Idaho isn’t just losing OB/GYNs; it’s losing primary care providers as well – so clearly, it’s not because of laws preventing the intentional killing of preborn children. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has designated 43 of Idaho’s 44 counties as primary care “health professional shortage areas,” which shows that the lack of doctors in the state extends far beyond whether or not a doctor is legally prohibited from killing his patients.

Reprinted with permission from Live Action.