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ACOG Statement on the Supreme Court Decision on Hobby Lobby v Burwell

June 30, 2014

Washington, DC — The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists President John C. Jennings released the following statements regarding today’s decision by the Supreme Court in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell:

“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (the College) is profoundly disappointed in today’s Supreme Court decision, which allows employers to impose their religious views on their female employees’ health care.

“This decision inappropriately allows employers to interfere in women’s health care decisions. All health care decisions – including decisions about contraception – should be made by a woman and her doctor, based on the patient’s needs and her current health. Her employer’s religious beliefs should not overrule her doctor’s advice.

“Moreover, contraceptives are essential health care for women and should not be treated differently than other, equally important parts of comprehensive care for women, including well-woman visits, preconception care visits, cervical and breast cancer screenings, and other needed health care services.

“The value of family planning – including contraception – has been clearly demonstrated. The ability of a woman to time and space her children reduces infant, child, and maternal morbidity and mortality, and can lead to more optimal health outcomes for mother and for baby. Of course, contraception also prevents unintended pregnancy. This is absolutely essential in America, where nearly one half of all pregnancies are unintended.

“Because access to contraception is essential women’s health care, the College supported the government’s position in these cases by submitting amicus briefs to the Supreme Court. In these briefs, the College explained the mechanism of action for the contested contraceptives and informed the Court of the importance of contraception to women’s and children’s health; the latter brief was cited in Justice Ginsberg’s dissent.

“Moving past this decision, we will remain vigilant about state legislators who may feel emboldened by the Court’s actions. State lawmakers must not see this decision as a green light to roll back essential insurance coverage gains made across the states over the past two decades. Women's physicians will continue to stand in strong support of state laws guaranteeing equitable coverage for our patients’ health care needs.

“America’s obstetricians and gynecologists are committed to promoting the health of women. However, barriers to access, like the one confirmed by the Supreme Court today, limit the ability of physicians to provide the care that women deserve, care that promotes the well-being of millions of families.”

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization. www.acog.org

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