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On May 17, 2021, the US Supreme Court announced that it will hear Jackson Women’s Health Organization v. Dobbs, a challenge to a Mississippi law banning abortion care after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The Court’s decision could have profound consequences for clinicians’ ability to provide comprehensive reproductive health care across the country.

ACOG, joined by 25 medical organizations, submitted an amicus brief asking the Court to recognize that this ban is fundamentally at odds with the provision of safe and essential health care, with scientific evidence, and with medical ethics. The brief represents an unprecedented level of support from a diverse group of physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals, which demonstrates the concrete medical consensus of opposition to abortion restriction legislation such as the law at the heart of this case. Oral arguments in the case are set for December 1, 2021.

ACOG has long asserted that medically unjustified regulation of abortion care imposes burdens on women’s health, rather than improving it. In a statement responding to the Court’s announcement, ACOG CEO Maureen G. Phipps, MD, MPH, said, “ACOG hopes that the Supreme Court will once again rely on precedent as well as evidence-based medicine to uphold the right of patients to access safe, legal abortion care, as was established by the Court itself decades ago.”

The stakes are high: absent federal constitutional protections, the country’s already vast access divide will continue to widen, exacerbating grave inequities faced by communities who already experience systemic barriers to health care. While many of these laws have been blocked by the courts— underscoring the importance of the US Supreme Court’s role as a constitutional backstop—those laws that are in effect have eroded access to care, contributed to stigma against providers and patients, curtailed training opportunities, limited the pool of qualified providers, and forced clinicians to practice outside of the bounds of their medical training and professional judgement. Adolescents, people of color, those living in rural areas, those with low incomes, and people who are incarcerated can face disproportionate effects of restrictions.

Take Action

  • Speak out for national protections: Urge Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA), which would create a federal safeguard for physicians and their patients against restrictions on safe, medically appropriate care
  • Share your perspective on the importance of access to legal abortion
  • Learn more about getting involved in state advocacy, including how to connect with your ACOG Section and District leaders. If you have questions about legislation in your state or how to find local resources, contact stateleg@acog.org

Additional Resources from ACOG