District IV Forum Spring 2019: Legislative Updates

Legislative Updates

Constance Bohon, MD, FACOG
Holly Puritz, MD, FACOG
ACOG District IV Legislative Chairs
There are a number of state and national legislative issues that affect our ability to provide care for our patients. Many also will affect our patients’ access to care.
Recently, President Donald Trump announced that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be replaced by a Republican-initiated healthcare plan. The specifics of this new plan have not been presented and a vote won’t take place until after the 2020 election.
Another concern is the removal of Title X funding from Planned Parenthood health centers. Title X is the only federal program exclusively dedicated to providing low‐income patients with access to family planning. It also provides access to cancer screening, pregnancy counseling, STI screening and treatment, and preventive care. None of this funding goes towards abortions. The administration announced last week that Planned Parenthood affiliates in North Carolina and Virginia were stripped of funding. ACOG believes that politicians should never interfere in the patient-physician relationship.
H.B. 481, a six‐week abortion ban, has passed the Georgia legislature and has been sent to Governor Brian Kemp who has said that he is eager to sign it. This bill bans abortion after a fetal heart rate is detected, which is typically around six weeks of gestation—often before a woman knows she is pregnant.
The Maryland Section has responded to lawmaker interest in establishing local maternal mortality review committees, mainly in Baltimore City. A compromise bill (S.B. 602) would allow data sharing between the state-level maternal mortality review committees and local health departments.
It is imperative that we advocate for our patients and their access to care as well as our ability to provide patients with the care they need and deserve. It will take all of us working together to maintain the care currently available in most areas. If you are not already an advocate, now is the time to begin. Please.
This is an excerpt from a larger article. Please visit the ACOG District IV website for the full article.