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ACOG and AMA File Amicus Brief in Planned Parenthood v Abbott

Physicians Oppose Texas Law Jeopardizing Women’s Health

December 20, 2013

Washington, DC -- The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association (AMA) filed a joint amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in support of Planned Parenthood’s challenge to Texas House Bill (HB) 2. ACOG and the AMA oppose HB 2 because it imposes government regulation on abortion care that jeopardizes the health of women in Texas and denies them access to the safest and most effective evidence-based protocols for medical abortions.

Abortion is a very safe procedure, and complications requiring hospital admission are extremely rare. There is no medical basis to require abortion providers to have local hospital admitting privileges. Emergency room physicians, hospital-based physicians, and on-call specialists already provide prompt and effective treatment to all patients with urgent medical needs, including women with abortion-related complications. Moreover, there is no medically sound reason for Texas to impose more stringent requirements on abortion facilities than it does on other medical facilities that perform procedures with similar, or even greater, risks.

ACOG also opposes Texas HB 2’s requirement that physicians follow an inferior treatment protocol for medical abortions. Legislators should not block advances in medical care by prohibiting physicians from incorporating the best, and most current, scientific evidence into their patient care. Requiring physicians to follow a protocol that is scientifically proven to be inferior to other regimens is an unwarranted intrusion in the physician-patient relationship. The practice of medicine should be based on the latest scientific research and medical advances. Yet, HB 2 deprives the women of Texas the best evidence-based care.

Unless there is a substantial public health justification, legislators should not interfere with patient care, medical decisions, and the patient-physician relationship. In filing their amicus brief, ACOG and AMA urge the Court to set aside HB 2’s admitting privilege requirement and to uphold the district court’s exception to HB 2’s medical abortion provisions.

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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 approximately 57,000 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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