Dear members of the ACOG community,
We write to you today regarding the future of abortion care in the United States and ACOG’s role in advocacy, education, and engagement to prepare you and to protect your patients’ access to care.
Across ACOG leadership, we are speaking out to defend our members, your patients, and the patient–physician relationship. From supporting member advocacy to serving as a powerful voice in the courts, ACOG has long fought in defense of comprehensive reproductive medical care and against legislative interference in the patient–physician relationship.
As we anticipate stark changes to our framework for abortion access, we are building on these efforts to leverage a multipronged strategy that will prepare us for the changes ahead; ensure that the voices of ACOG, our members, and our partners are heard; and work to restore and protect the reproductive rights of patients.
Below is a high-level summary of some of our ongoing work to meet immediate needs and launch a long-term strategy to support access to and provision of abortion care.
- Maintaining obstetric and gynecologic practice in a new landscape: As a new legal framework for abortion access unfolds, unexpected challenges continue to emerge regarding clinical, practice management, and logistical challenges. ACOG’s Spontaneous and Induced Abortion Resource Center can answer many specific questions about abortion and miscarriage management.
- Mobilization for state legislative, regulatory, and institutional advocacy: If the Supreme Court rules as it is expected to and returns regulation of abortion to the states, the state legislative arena will be activated across the country, with many states moving to restrict or deny access to abortion. Building on the tremendous groundwork that many ACOG Districts and Sections have already laid, we are growing our advocacy resource library and creating process documents for ACOG members across the country to use for quick and effective mobilization against such legislative activities. To learn more about how you can be an obstetrician–gynecologist advocate, email [email protected]acog.org. We also continue to advocate at the federal level for action from Congress and the administration to mitigate the fallout of these restrictions.
- Advancing health care professionals’ education and training to provide abortion care and connecting patients with referrals: An expanded network of clinicians across medical specialties will be essential to help patients access needed abortion care regardless of where they live. This means implementing global access to training for future physicians, continuing education for those who want to add abortion care to their practices, and ready information for those who need to connect patients with care where available.
- Updating clinical guidance and creating additional guidance as needed: In order to navigate the dissonance between the practice of ethical and evidence-based medical care and statutory and regulatory language, we will be updating critical ACOG clinical guidance that obstetrician–gynecologists rely on in addition to many other guidance documents that health care professionals, regulators, payers, administrators, and many more look to for direction. We will update existing guidance that directly addresses facets of abortion care or clinical issues that may be affected and create new guidance as needed to address new avenues for patients to access safe abortion care.
- How we talk about abortion care: Though abortion is an essential part of comprehensive medical care, it has been increasingly vilified compared to other forms of medical care by pervasive stigma and false narratives. How—and whether—we talk about abortion care has downstream effects on how the public, policy makers, and the media think about and understand abortion care. Empowering you to have effective conversations about abortion care will help you demonstrate to your patients, colleagues, and community that abortion is an integral part of the spectrum of medical care and equip you to counter false claims and medical misinformation about abortion that can drive restrictive policies.
We are aware that news reports about legislative and legal activity can cause confusion for the public and lead to disruptions in care and cancelled appointments. Please help us assure patients that the draft U.S. Supreme Court opinion that was made public on May 2, 2022, does not by itself change any state laws regulating abortion.
We encourage you to visit our website for updated information and resources in the weeks and months ahead.