Letter to the Editor New York Times
June 4, 2012
The following is the unedited version of the letter-to-the-editor published in the June 4 online edition of The New York Times:
The New York Times
Letter to the Editor
To the Editor:
The New York Times editorial is accurate in depicting the current assault on women’s health care and reproductive rights as “undeniable, severe, and continuing.” (The Campaign Against Women, May 20). The continuous onslaught of laws focusing exclusively on denying reproductive health care rights is a concerted campaign against women. These laws are not grounded in science or evidence-based medicine.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) firmly believes that access to family planning counseling and to the full array of FDA-approved contraceptives is a basic and essential component of preventive health care for women. Efforts to defund Planned Parenthood—which provides cervical cancer and mammography screening, contraception, and other critical preventive care to millions of women—are particularly egregious and disproportionately hurt poor women.
As physicians for women’s health care, ob-gyns see firsthand the havoc that punitive ideology-based laws have on the health of women and their families. These ill-conceived laws are based on the pretext of protecting health, but they do anything but that. Mandating that women be legally forced to undergo transvaginal ultrasound or any other medical procedure against their will and against their physician’s judgment is an outrageous violation of patient autonomy and the confidential doctor-patient relationship. Decreasing access to family planning and contraception services will only increase unintended pregnancies and negatively impact family and societal health.
Politicians were not elected to, nor should they, legislate the practice of medicine or dictate the parameters of the doctor-patient relationship. Our message to politicians is unequivocal: get out of our exam rooms.
James T. Breeden, MD
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 approximately 56,000 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