(NEWSnet) — A hospital in Idaho says it will stop providing labor and delivery services this spring, with the implications of the state’s abortion laws among the reasons.

Bonner General Health is the only hospital for the city of Sandpoint, which has about 9,000 residents. The hospital staff reports that the number of deliveries handled at its facility has been declining with 265 babies delivered last year.

But a key factor for the decision is a specialty physician staffing shortage in the community. Services for inpatient pediatric care are expected to become unreliable by May.

“Our low patient volume is insufficient to attract candidates for pediatric hospitalists,” the hospital said in a March 17 statement, adding that “highly respected, talented physicians are leaving” the state.

“Recruiting replacements will be extraordinarily difficult. In addition, the Idaho Legislature continues to introduce and pass bills that criminalize physicians for medical care nationally recognized as the standard of care,” the statement said.

Bonner is referring potential labor and delivery patients to a larger hospital with newer facilities that can provide 24/7 specialty care for newborns and related maternity needs. That facility is about 45 miles away from Sandpoint.

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