ACOG Opposes Executive Order Limiting Access to Comprehensive Health Care Under Religious Freedom Exemption

May 4, 2017

Washington, DC – The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) today released the following statement on the executive order signed May 4th, “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty”:

“ACOG strongly opposes any policy, including today’s executive order, that would limit access to evidence-based women’s preventive services, including contraceptive care, and allow employers to impose their personal beliefs on their employees’ health care coverage. Comprehensive well-woman care, including access to contraception, is vital to women, their children, their families, and our Nation. Employee access to insurance coverage that includes these services must not be dictated by the personal religious beliefs of a company’s owners. All health care decisions—including decisions about reproductive health—should be made by a woman and her doctor, free from political interference.

“Contraceptives are essential care for women and must not be treated differently than other, equally important parts of comprehensive care, including vaccination, antibiotics or annual physical examinations. Contraceptives prevent unintended pregnancies and abortion, and improve maternal and child health by allowing women to plan for childbirth and space their pregnancies. Ninety-nine percent of sexually active U.S. women report having used some form of contraception. Allowing employers to avoid providing this and other evidence-based coverage would prevent women—particularly lower income women—from accessing this needed care.

“Health care policymaking that is not based on scientific or medical evidence is dangerous for our patients. This executive order represents political interference in the practice of medicine, and wrongly places politicians and employers between patients and their trusted physicians.”

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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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