Washington, DC—Thomas Gellhaus, MD, president of The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), today released the following statement:
“Senator Jeff Sessions has been nominated to the post of United States attorney general, our nation’s top law enforcement officer. In this role, Sessions would have the authority and responsibility to enforce our nation’s laws and protect all Americans. Given his record of support for legislation criminalizing physicians, and his alignment with organizations that oppose access to legal abortion services, ACOG has serious concerns regarding Sessions’ ability to adequately serve in this role and apply judgment that is fair and unbiased when upholding the laws of the land.
“One of the laws the attorney general is responsible for enforcing is the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act. The FACE Act protects physicians and patients from the threat or use of force or obstruction to interfere with the provision of health care, including damage or destruction of health care facilities. In addition, the individual in this position also oversees the work of the National Task Force on Violence Against Health Care Providers, and has discretion and authority over resources, staffing, and prioritization of its work.
“Since the summer of 2015, we have seen an alarming uptick in online hate speech, direct threats of violence, and violent instances aimed at physicians and our patients. It is imperative that our next attorney general prioritize the safety and security of physicians and patients and their ability to provide and access legal, evidence-based health care. Therefore, ACOG urges the Senate to oppose Sessions for attorney general.”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, The College strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(6) organization, is its companion organization. www.acog.org