Massachusetts Medical Society: Massachusetts Medical Society, Mass. ACOG and Mass. AFP urge protection of equitable access to reproductive care

Massachusetts Medical Society, Mass. ACOG and Mass. AFP urge protection of equitable access to reproductive care

This week, a draft opinion was leaked in the Supreme Court case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, revealing a five-Justice majority prepared to overturn the fundamental right to abortion established in Roe v. Wade. Chief Justice Roberts confirmed this draft is authentic. This development has caused understandable fear and confusion, but this does not change the law today – abortion remains safe and legal until the Court formally issues a final opinion. Because Massachusetts is a leader in reproductive health care, abortion is protected under our state law.

The Massachusetts Medical Society, Massachusetts Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians believe that health care is a basic human right and strive for equity in access to and quality of care. Crucial to effective care is a trusting patient-doctor relationship in which patients have agency in making important decisions regarding their health. Protecting equitable access to reproductive health care, including abortion, and the right to seek the trusted guidance of a physician are critical to the health and well-being to all who may become pregnant. Abortion is an essential medical component in the continuum of reproductive health care and should be safely accessible to all, regardless of where you live.

We are deeply concerned at the prospect of the Court overturning almost 50 years of precedent. If Roe is overturned, 26 states are poised to quickly ban or severely restrict abortion, leaving more than 36 million people of reproductive age without abortion access. The consequences to the health of people who may become pregnant can be devastating, as pregnancy carries medical risks for some, and outlawing abortion will lead to less safe terminations of pregnancy. These harms will disproportionately impact those with the least means who already face the most significant barriers. People of color, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, and those with low incomes will bear the brunt of this decision, further exacerbating existing inequities in access to care and disparities in maternal health outcomes.

The Medical Society, Mass. ACOG and Mass. AFP stand with the physicians and care providers who will continue to provide compassionate, judgment free health care to all the people whom this impending decision will harm. We will continue to work alongside advocates and legislators to do all we can to ensure Massachusetts remains a safe and accessible place for all those seeking abortion. We call on Congress to codify federal protections to ensure the continued ability of all to access safe and legal abortion throughout the entire country. Abortion is health care and must remain legal, affordable, and accessible.

-Carole E. Allen, MD, MBA, FAAP, President, Massachusetts Medical Society

-Glenn Markenson, MD, Chair, Massachusetts Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

-Emily Chin, MD, MPH, FAAFP, President, Massachusetts Academy of Family Physicians


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