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An Idaho hospital blames abortion policy for closing its labor and delivery ward

that Idaho Hospital He made the decision to abolish the labor and delivery division, saying the “political climate” made it too difficult to retain staff.

“Very talented and respected doctors are leaving. It will be very difficult to recruit replacements,” Bonner General Health, located in Sandpoint, Idaho, said in a social media post Friday. “The Idaho legislature continues to introduce and pass bills criminalizing physicians for receiving Medicare that is nationally recognized as standard of care. Consequences for Idaho physicians providing standard care may include civil litigation and criminal prosecution, leading to imprisonment or fines.”

The statement comes after Idaho enacted some of its strictest Abortion restrictions in the country last year, including a provision allowing people the ability to sue a doctor who performs an abortion for up to five years.

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A sign reading “My Body, My Choice” hangs from a street lamp in front of the Idaho State Capitol on May 3, 2022. (Sarah A. Miller/Idaho Statesman via Associated Press, File)

The hospital argued that this reality left Bonner General with no choice but to close its maternity and delivery department, with board chairman Ford Elsaesser saying they tried everything they could to avoid the outcome.

“We have made every effort to avoid canceling these services,” El-Saeser said in the post. “We hoped we would be the exception, but our challenges are impossible to overcome now.”

Patients who would have used Bonner General for labor and delivery will now have to drive to hospitals in Coeur d’Alene or Spokane, Washingtonabout 45 miles from Sandpoint.

Idaho State Capitol

Idaho State Capitol (Aaron P./Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

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Bonner General also said the decision was made after the hospital struggled to maintain it Pediatrician coveragemaking the provision of routine labor and delivery services “unsafe and unethical”.

The hospital also noted the changing demographics of the local area, noting that the number of babies born in the hospital decreased each year.

The hospital said it would try to continue labor and delivery services until May 19, though it warned that achieving that goal would depend on its ability to staff the department.

A group protests the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health on July 2, 2022, in Driggs, Idaho.

A group protests the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health on July 2, 2022, in Driggs, Idaho. (Natalie Bering/Getty Images)

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“Closing the midwifery department will not be an easy transition for the Bonner Public Health teams or our community and surrounding area,” the hospital said.

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