Indiana’s New Abortion Ban May Drive Some Young OB-GYNs to Leave a State Where They’re Needed

by | Aug 19, 2022 | Health

On a Monday morning, a group of obstetrics and gynecology residents, dressed in blue scrubs and white coats, gathered in an auditorium at Indiana University School of Medicine. After the usual updates and announcements, Dr. Nicole Scott, the residency program director, addressed the elephant in the room. “Any more abortion care questions?” she asked the trainees.

After a few moments of silence, one resident asked: “How’s Dr. Bernard doing?”

“Bernard is actually in really good spirits — I mean, relatively,” Scott answered. “She has 24/7 security, has her own lawyer.”

They were talking about Dr. Caitlin Bernard, an Indiana OB-GYN who provides abortions and trains residents at the university hospital. Bernard was recently caught in a political whirlwind after she spoke about an abortion she provided to a 10-year-old rape victim from Ohio. Bernard was the target of false accusations made on national television by pundits and political leaders, including Indiana’s attorney general.

The doctors interviewed for this article said that they are not speaking on behalf of their school of medicine but rather about their personal experiences during a tumultuous moment that they worry will affect the way they care for their patients.

The vitriol directed at Bernard hit home for this group of residents. She has mentored most of them for years. Many of the young doctors were certain they wanted to practice in Indiana after their training. But lately, some have been ambivalent about that prospect.

Dr. Beatrice Soderholm, a fourth-year OB-GYN resident, said watching what Bernard went through was “scary.” “I think that was …

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