Mondays with your MD – Women’s Rights to Reproductive Health Care in 2022
I am grateful today that I live in Illinois, but I do not believe access to health care should depend on where a woman is residing within the US. The disruption to appropriate health care for women has caused chaos in caring for women who are pregnant, and ultimately will lead to preventable deaths of women that will affect the entire nation for generations.
People misunderstand the far-reaching consequences of the ruling by believing abortion to be a simple elective decision to terminate a “normal” pregnancy. This ruling, in fact, threatens the fundamental health care rights of women. It demonstrates HOW IMPORTANT the physician-patient relationship is and why neither government nor insurance companies have any place making health-care decisions.
Reverting to state level laws from early 1900s, immediately following this ruling, has put numerous physicians in an impossible situation wondering how to legally provide appropriate care for their patients. In Utah, for example, the law describes the delivery of anything except a dead fetus as an abortion. Women who are severely infected or hemorrhaging as a complication of pregnancy, with a fetus that has a heartbeat but cannot survive outside of the uterus, have routinely been treated by terminating pregnancy as the standard of care… until now. With the change in law, instead of terminating the fetus and sparing the life of the woman, there will be an additional preventable loss of life. The lives of women will be lost.
In some states, immediately following the ruling, physicians were asked to contact the legal department prior to caring for patients appropriately….this simple delay in care can cost the life of a woman who is hemorrhaging from an ectopic non-viable pregnancy in an emergency care situation.
The supreme court decision eliminates equitable and safe access to medical care and will ultimately lead to higher maternal mortality rates in the US. There is absolutely no space for third parties, government bodies nor insurance companies, in the delivery of health care. These decisions must be made DIRECTLY between patients and their physicians.
“The American Medical Association is deeply disturbed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn nearly a half century of precedent protecting patients’ right to critical reproductive healthcare—representing an egregious allowance of government intrusion into the medical examination room, a direct attack on the practice of medicine and the patient-physician relationship, and a brazen violation of patients’; rights to evidence-based reproductive health services. States that end legal abortion will not end abortion—they will end safe abortion, risking devastating consequences, including patients’ lives….
We will always have physicians’ backs and defend the practice of medicine, we will fight to protect the patient-physician relationship, and we will oppose any law or regulation that compromises or criminalizes patient access to safe, evidence-based medical care, including abortion. As the health of millions of patients hangs in the balance, this is a fight we will not give up.”