Washington, D.C. – On September 1, 2021 the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, the American Osteopathic Association, and the American Psychiatric Association released the following joint statement. As of September 16, 2021, it has been endorsed by 38 additional organizations.
America’s leading physician groups are deeply concerned about the consequences of the Texas state law, which took effect yesterday, banning abortions, medical counseling and support related to abortion after six weeks of pregnancy.
Our organizations, which represent nearly 600,000 physicians and medical students, strongly oppose any laws and regulations that interfere in the confidential relationship between a patient and their physician. This new law will endanger patients and clinicians, putting physicians who provide necessary medical care, or even offer evidence-based information, at risk, by allowing private citizens to interfere in women’s reproductive health decision making. Moreover, this law virtually eliminates women’s access to evidence-based, comprehensive care and information, and denies women their right to make decisions about their own health.
Our organizations are firmly against any policies that limit the evidence-based practice of medicine, threaten the patient-physician relationship, and inhibit the delivery of safe, timely, and necessary comprehensive care, including reproductive health services and information.
Patients must be able to depend on their physicians to help them make critical decisions about their personal health, including reproductive health. To that end, we fundamentally oppose the unprecedented ability for private citizens to take legal action against individuals who help a woman obtain an abortion, including physicians providing necessary, evidence-based care for their patients. Physicians must be able to practice medicine that is informed by their years of medical education, training, experience, and the available evidence, freely and without threat of punishment, harassment, or retribution.
Patients and their physicians should be the ones to make medical decisions together about what care is best for them. We strongly urge the courts to act swiftly to strike down this law and any similar legislation.