On December 1, 2021, The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, 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 has long asserted that medically unjustified regulation of abortion care imposes burdens on women’s health, rather than improving it. In a media telebriefing on the eve of oral arguments, ACOG CEO Maureen G. Phipps, MD, MPH, said, “If states are given carte blanche to ban abortion at any arbitrary stage, pregnant people will be forced to leave states to find care. Lives will be at stake.”

ACOG, joined by 24 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.

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.

Official ACOG Statements

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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 [email protected]

Additional Resources from ACOG