The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Medical Association (AMA) yesterday led a coalition of 19 leading medical societies urging the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to affirm the District Court’s ruling halting a Texas law that bans abortion at roughly six weeks.
SB 8, which clearly violates the Supreme Court’s precedents beginning with Roe v Wade almost 50 years ago, takes reproductive decision-making out of the hands of pregnant patients, their families, and their trusted clinicians, and it places it in the hands of lawyers, judges, and third parties seeking to reap state-sanctioned rewards.
“Holding clinicians liable for monetary damages and threatening them with risk of licensure revocation for providing clinically appropriate care is an extraordinary example of legislative interference and strips clinicians and their patients of the right to shared decision-making,” said ACOG president J. Martin Tucker, MD, on behalf of ACOG. “This law puts clinicians in the impossible position of choosing between adherence to the law and their patients' best interests.”
Because many people do not even know they are pregnant at approximately six weeks' gestation, the Texas law effectively bans abortion for the majority of patients in need. This will cause particular harm to people from communities of color, who also face significantly higher risk of death during pregnancy and delivery. It especially harms those with less resources and those in rural areas without close proximity to safe, effective reproductive health care.
“The American Medical Association stands firmly against government interference in the clinical exam room, particularly laws and regulations like Texas SB 8 that criminalize the practice of medicine, obstruct the delivery of evidence-based care, and undermine the patient-physician relationship,” said AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD. “The deeply inequitable impact that this law will have on already-marginalized patients' access to reproductive health care is dangerous and unconstitutional. We must immediately stop this unnecessary government overreach into physicians’ clinical judgment—or risk irreparable harm to the health of our patients in Texas and the overall health of the nation.”