On June 24, the American Academy of family Physicians (AAFP) released the following statement attributable to AAFP President Sterling Ransone, Jr., MD, FAAFP:
The AAFP is disappointed and disheartened by the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down longstanding protections afforded by Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This decision negatively impacts our practices and our patients by undermining the patient-physician relationship and potentially criminalizing evidence-based medical care. Further, the decision to uphold Dobbs v. Mississippi will limit access to health care for patients across the United States.
Patients must be able to depend on their physicians to help them make critical decisions about their personal health. Further, 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. The Court’s decision prevents these basic tenets of health care.
Allowing each state to pass their own laws regarding access to reproductive health care, including abortion services and contraception, exacerbates inequities in the health care system. These laws disproportionately affect those patients who are in underrepresented groups and underserved areas, which already puts them at increased risk of maternal death. Decreased availability of care and increased travel and associated expenses will make seeking health care challenging for many and prohibitive for some.
The AAFP will continue to advocate for everyone’s right to health care and to protect family physicians. This echoes our longstanding policies opposing any governmental interference in the confidential relationship between patient and physician, including those related to criminalizing medical care.
To that end, the AAFP strongly urges state legislators to protect patients and their physicians and to enact laws that protect access and strike down any laws that jeopardize care. Laws and mandates that restrict or create undue burdens in accessing health care services endanger patients and put those of us who provide medical care—or even offer evidence-based information—at great risk.
Our patients, not policymakers, must make their own medical decisions.
The Ohio Academy of Family Physicians (OAFP) stands firmly with the AAFP against any policies that unnecessarily regulate the evidence-based practice of medicine, criminalize physicians and medical care, threaten the patient-physician relationship, and inhibit the delivery of safe, timely, and comprehensive care, including reproductive health services and information and gender-affirming care.