Opposition to Immigration Practices that Are Detrimental to the Well-Being of Women and Children
Statement of Policy
As the leading organization of physicians who provide health services unique to women, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists ardently supports the health and well-being of all women and girls without regard to their immigration status. ACOG has long acknowledged the significant interplay of the human rights of women and girls with the overall health of women and society and opposes governmental action that undermines these human rights.
ACOG strongly opposes immigration practices that are detrimental to women and children’s health, including separating children from their parents or caregivers. Separation of a child from his or her parents or caregivers in the absence of immediate threats to the child’s well-being is inhumane and violates the basic human rights and dignity of both children and their parents and caregivers. Childhood separation and other mistreatment of children can lead to detrimental, lifelong physical and emotional harm. Parents and caregivers are also at great risk of experiencing severe trauma as a result of such treatment.
Moreover, ACOG strongly opposes immigration practices that place women at increased risk by denying asylum requests to those who claim credible fears of domestic abuse. ACOG has long supported allowing women who are survivors of intimate partner violence to remain in the United States if it is justified on humanitarian grounds, ensures family unity, or is otherwise in the public interest.
Obstetricians and gynecologists observe first-hand the lifelong effects that childhood separation and inhumane immigration practices have on their adult and adolescent patients. Such practices present unique risks to women and girls. Women and girls are highly vulnerable to sexual assault in immigration detention facilities. It has also been well documented that women, especially pregnant women, held in immigration detention facilities have poor access to medical care, which can lead to detrimental health outcomes, including premature death. Immigrant women and girls should have access to adequate, timely, and evidence-based health care.
ACOG denounces governmental practices that are detrimental to health, family well-being, and human dignity in the United States and across the world.
Approved June 2018
Reaffirmed July 2021