An Idaho hospital announced it will end its labor and delivery services in mid-May, “obliquely referring to recent restrictions on abortion” as one of its reasons, ABC News reported on Wednesday.

In a press release on March 17, Bonner General Health in Sandpoint said it will no longer be providing obstetrical care due in part to the state’s “legal and political climate.” Bonner General Health serves roughly 9,000 people.

“We have made every effort to avoid eliminating these services,” Ford Elsaesser, BGH’s board president, said in a statement. “We hoped to be the exception, but our challenges are impossible to overcome now.”

The press release cited several other reasons for ending its labor and delivery services, “including a loss of pediatricians to provide neonatal and perinatal care, fewer babies being born at the hospital and the changing political landscape,” according to the report. While the hospital did not specifically name the state’s abortion laws, it stated that the “legal and political climate” is causing physicians to leave the hospital and said finding replacements has become 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 news release states. “Physicians providing the standard of care may include civil litigation and criminal prosecution, leading to jail time or fine.”

In March of 2022, Idaho was the first state to enact a law modeled after a Texas law that bans abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is around six weeks. The law also has a private right of action, meaning the father, grandparents, siblings, uncles, or aunts of an aborted baby can sue the medical provider who performs an abortion.

The hospital said it will continue delivering babies through May 19 but said the date could be sooner due to staffing changes.

“The BGH team will coordinate care for Sandpoint Women’s Health OB patients scheduled to deliver in May and after. Lastly, thank you all for the decades of partnership and for entrusting your care with our outstanding Obstetricians and Labor & Delivery staff on our team,” the release states. “The closure of obstetrics will not be an easy transition for our Bonner General Health teams or our community and surrounding area.”