Ob-gyn interest endures in a post-Dobbs world

Contemporary OB/GYN JournalVol 69 No 3
Volume 69
Issue 3

The Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision has significantly influenced ob-gyn residency applications, particularly in states with complete abortion bans, leading to notable shifts in applicant preferences and program dynamics.

Ob-gyn interest endures in a post-Dobbs world | Image Credit: © freshidea - © freshidea - stock.adobe.com.

Ob-gyn interest endures in a post-Dobbs world | Image Credit: © freshidea - © freshidea - stock.adobe.com.

Match Day caps a momentous year of major changes in our chosen field because of the Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. Of note, it has significantly impacted the number of obstetrics and gynecology (ob-gyn) applicants and where they apply geographically.

Post Dobbs, 14 states now have full bans on abortion.1 The Accreditation Commission on Colleges of Medicine has evaluated its impact on residency applications to programs in these 14 states and found the following2:

States with complete bans had fewer residency applicants from US MDs across all specialties. In a survey of 494 medical students, 77% responded that changes in abortion access would likely or very likely influence their decision in consideration of residency programs.3 The students highlighted the importance of access for their patients, themselves, and their family.

In 2023, ob-gyn programs had the second largest drop in applicants across all states, with a 5.5% reduction (emergency medicine saw the largest drop in applicants, –21.4%). The decrease in applicants was highest in states with complete abortion bans (–10.5%) and lowest in those without restrictions. By comparison, in 2024, the number of applicants in ob-gyn was relatively stable (Table).4

Despite these trends, all residency positions in ob-gyn were filled, and if our program is an example, we have fantastic residents and trainees with bright futures. This Match Day brought home to me the incredible significance of the day—the next years of life for our graduates are decided with joy and some sorrow. I am humbled by the opportunities and challenges our trainees face, as the practice of medicine now has additional challenges of navigating legal implications on practice. It is vital we support them and encourage them to practice in all parts of the country to ensure access to care for women. For many women, their ob-gyn is their only medical home for years of their life.

Note the decline of 5.5% in 2023 after the Dobbs decision.


  1. Abortion policy tracker. KFF. Updated November 2, 2023. Accessed May 10, 2024. https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/abortion-policy-tracker/
  2. Orgera K, Mahmood H, Grover A. Training location preferences of US medical school graduates post Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Decision. Research and Action Institute; Association of American Medical Colleges. April 13, 2023.Accessed May 1, 2024. https://doi.org/10.15766/rai_2rw8fvba
  3. Mermin-Bunnell K, Traub AM, Wang K, Aaron B, King LP, Kawwass J. Abortion restrictions and medical residency applications. J Med Ethics. Published online December 5, 2023. doi:10.1136/jme-2023-109190
  4. ERAS statistics. Association of American Medical Colleges. 2024. Accessed May 10, 2024. https://www.aamc.org/data-reports/data/eras-statistics-data
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