Washington, DC – The following is a statement from Iffath Abbasi Hoskins, MD, FACOG, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), regarding today’s decision from the United States Supreme Court in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. Read ACOG’s amicus brief in the case.
“Today’s decision is a direct blow to bodily autonomy, reproductive health, patient safety, and health equity in the United States. Reversing the constitutional protection for safe, legal abortion established by the Supreme Court nearly 50 years ago exposes pregnant people to arbitrary state-based restrictions, regulations, and bans that will leave many people unable to access needed medical care. The restrictions put forth are not based on science or medicine; they allow unrelated third parties to make decisions that rightfully and ethically should be made only by individuals and their physicians. ACOG condemns this devastating decision, which will allow state governments to prevent women from living with autonomy over their bodies and their decisions.
“Abortion is a safe, essential part of comprehensive health care, and just like any other safe and effective medical intervention, it must be available equitably to people, no matter their race, socioeconomic status, or where they reside. When abortion is legal, it is safe. Allowing states to set individual restrictive abortion policies, including restrictions and outright bans on this essential component of medical care, results in an increase in the inequities that already plague the health care system and this country. These oppressive laws will force many people to face the known risks associated with continuing a pregnancy, including potential pregnancy-related complications and worsening of existing health conditions, as well as the morbidity and mortality associated with childbirth. The impact of this irresponsible decision will fall disproportionately on people who already face barriers to accessing health care, including people of color, those living in rural areas, and those without ample financial resources. This decision, which has been foreshadowed for many months, confirms that this is a dark and dangerous time for the women and doctors of America.
“The principle of shared decision-making is founded on respect for peoples’ expertise in their own bodies and lives and clinicians’ expertise in science and medicine. There is no room within the sanctuary of the patient–physician relationship for individual lawmakers who wish to impose their personal religious or ideological views on others.
“While the Supreme Court’s decision today is a significant and destructive setback, ACOG’s resolve is unwavering: we will continue to support our members, our community partners, and all people in the ongoing struggle against laws and regulations that violate and interfere with the patient–physician relationship and block access to essential, evidence-based health care.”