Alabama experiencing shortage of OBGYN providers

According to data from America Health Rankings, Alabama is at the bottom when it comes to cervical cancer deaths and maternal deaths. Now, there are concerns the new law could scare doctors away, and the lack of care could get even worse.

Posted: May 17, 2019 6:00 PM
Updated: May 17, 2019 7:01 PM

There are concerns about women's healthcare in light of Alabama's new abortion law. Before the developments this week, Alabama already ranked at the bottom of the list in women's health.

According to data from America Health Rankings, Alabama is at the bottom when it comes to cervical cancer deaths and maternal deaths. Now, there are concerns the new law could scare doctors away, and the lack of care could get even worse. 

"I think many doctors are not going to want to come here, because they will not be allowed to exercise their best judgment and their training," Nance Morris, who lives in Huntsville, said. 

Alabama is already seeing a shortage in doctors focusing on women's health. According to Human Rights Watch, there was a severe shortage and lack of women's specialists throughout the state in 2018, especially in the middle portion of Alabama, called the black belt.

An OBGYN, Dr. Willie Parker, says the shortage is the result of a perfect storm. Doctors say they would rather work in bigger cities with higher populations. He also pointed to the escalated workload in the field, additional years of studying and women's preference for female doctors, over males. 

"People who are aspired to practice medicine feel threatened even in terms of their livelihood or now with changes in the abortion law," Dr. Parker said. 

Under Alabama's new abortion law, a doctor could face up to 99 years in prison for performing an abortion. WAAY 31 asked Dr. Parker if the idea of practicing in a different state has crossed his mind. He shook his head and said the state needs his help.

"As someone from here, if I couldn't make the women people of this state a priority, who would?" Dr. Parker said. 

Alabama is just one of many southern states facing a shortage of OBGYN providers. Georgia and Mississippi are experiencing it as well.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 522131

Reported Deaths: 10790
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754831494
Mobile39111799
Madison34084500
Tuscaloosa25396444
Montgomery24037573
Shelby23210242
Baldwin20714302
Lee15614166
Calhoun14350311
Morgan14164273
Etowah13696348
Marshall12007220
Houston10408279
Elmore10018203
Limestone9858148
Cullman9507191
St. Clair9478236
Lauderdale9271233
DeKalb8760183
Talladega8122173
Walker7146276
Autauga6760106
Jackson6760110
Blount6529133
Colbert6234132
Coffee5431113
Dale4779111
Russell430939
Franklin420982
Chilton4114110
Covington4068115
Tallapoosa3915148
Escambia390374
Dallas3525150
Chambers3516122
Clarke347260
Marion3072100
Pike306576
Lawrence296295
Winston273272
Bibb256361
Marengo248461
Geneva246275
Pickens233259
Barbour227155
Hale218675
Butler213168
Fayette209460
Henry188144
Cherokee182744
Randolph177241
Monroe172740
Washington165338
Macon156148
Clay150155
Crenshaw149557
Cleburne146741
Lamar139734
Lowndes137353
Wilcox124727
Bullock121940
Conecuh109528
Perry107626
Sumter103232
Coosa99428
Greene91434
Choctaw58824
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 830484

Reported Deaths: 12049
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby927281585
Davidson87309923
Knox49411623
Hamilton43254481
Rutherford41816420
Williamson27237214
Sumner23155339
Montgomery19075224
Wilson17979224
Out of TN1794598
Unassigned16655134
Sullivan16096287
Blount14963194
Bradley14518147
Washington14129242
Sevier13116174
Maury13021168
Putnam11155173
Madison10771240
Robertson9567127
Anderson8599171
Hamblen8478170
Greene7715152
Tipton7216102
Coffee6824121
Dickson6724109
Cumberland6555127
Carter6443156
Bedford6409127
Gibson6387144
McMinn634295
Roane6174102
Jefferson6061121
Loudon601169
Lawrence578686
Hawkins5766106
Monroe570295
Warren550881
Dyer5357104
Franklin508388
Fayette490377
Obion449996
Cocke442998
Cheatham442254
Rhea430375
Lincoln429563
Marshall410358
Campbell408462
Weakley401962
Giles393998
Henderson372475
Macon357376
Carroll357182
White353968
Hardin349166
Hardeman345863
Lauderdale314244
Henry311875
Marion308346
Claiborne305573
Scott305145
Overton296360
Wayne294234
Hickman279645
McNairy276754
DeKalb274953
Smith273938
Haywood268161
Grainger258449
Trousdale248722
Morgan245539
Fentress238046
Johnson230238
Bledsoe209411
Chester209351
Crockett200948
Polk199024
Unicoi194149
Cannon188831
Union185634
Grundy177232
Humphreys173621
Lake169526
Sequatchie166428
Benton162940
Decatur157338
Lewis155726
Meigs134123
Stewart130028
Jackson129635
Clay109031
Houston108333
Perry105728
Moore99717
Van Buren83421
Pickett75624
Hancock54712

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