Fighting Restrictions

As physicians, we support access to comprehensive reproductive health care services for all women. Legislation that puts politics and ideology before the doctor-patient relationship interferes with our ability to provide the highest level of care to our patients.

Restrictions, such as mandatory ultrasounds and waiting periods, bans on abortion care after 20 weeks, laws prohibiting telemedicine for medication abortion or preventing minors from giving their own informed consent, and bills like the Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA) create unnecessary hardship for patients who are seeking abortion services. Moreover, they serve only to create barriers to safe, legal abortion care.

In no area of medicine other than abortion care do our state and federal governments impose morality-based legislation that has the potential to criminalize doctors and manipulate patients in an attempt to sway their health care decisions.

Despite the equal, intrinsic value of all medical professionals and all patients, American federal and state governments have enacted laws and policies that interfere with abortion providers’ ability to care for their patients.

Some restrictions, known as targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP laws), impose onerous restrictions on abortion providers that are not required of other outpatient surgical and medical care. Some require abortion care to take place in a hospital or other specialized facility, rather than in a physician’s office. Others institute new architectural and licensing requirements on abortion clinics.

Certain states now impose follow-up procedures after a medication abortion, while others necessitate reporting abortion complications and issue penalties for noncompliance.

As physicians, we know that when providers are prevented from helping their patients, women and families suffer. Read more about our efforts to fight restrictions on abortion.

Related Posts:

The EACH Woman Act: A Bold Step Forward

Dr. Willie Parker“A woman’s options shouldn’t be dictated by how much money she makes. It’s time to put an end to this discriminatory practice. It is not just a matter of fairness, it is a matter of justice.” – Dr. Willie Parker

Physicians for Reproductive Health joined a large coalition today in praising the introduction of the Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act by Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Diane DeGette (D-CO), and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) along with 66 cosponsors to ensure that every woman insured through the federal government can have access to abortion care. The EACH Woman Act will overturn the Hyde Amendment that for over 40 years has barred coverage of abortion for these women. This includes not only those who have Medicaid insurance, but also those who are insured through the Indian Health Service, serve in the military or the Peace Corps, or hold federal government jobs.

Read Physicians board chair-elect Dr. Willie Parker‘s entire statement here

Doctors Group: Today’s House Vote Part of a Pattern to Limit Abortion Access

“This needs to stop. Taking away insurance coverage does not reduce the need for abortions; it only makes it harder for women to get safe medical care.”

Today, the House voted 392-37 to pass the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. Anti-choice representatives took the unnecessary step of including a Hyde Amendment-style provision in the bill, which will vastly expand the restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion. This is a cruel, political move that will disproportionately impact young people, low-income women, and women of color.

Physicians for Reproductive Health board chair Nancy L. Stanwood, MD, MPH, issued the following statement:

“As physicians, my colleagues and I support access to the full range of reproductive health care services, including timely, compassionate abortion care. No one should be denied access to a safe and legal abortion, yet for so many, no insurance coverage for this care makes abortion very difficult, if not impossible, to obtain.

“A woman’s health insurance should meet all of her health care needs, regardless of where her coverage comes from. We strongly oppose these anti-woman, anti-choice politicians’ efforts in Congress to attach the Hyde Amendment’s harmful abortion restrictions on bill after bill. These actions stigmatize abortion, limit access to care, and harm women’s dignity and health.

“Today is just part of a pattern of politicians interfering with personal decision-making.  We’ve seen it again and again: They can’t make abortion illegal, so instead they try to make it harder to get.

“This needs to stop. Taking away insurance coverage does not reduce the need for abortions; it only makes it harder for women to get timely, safe medical care.

“If our Congress members truly value the health and economic stability of women and families in the United States, they will work to reverse abortion coverage restrictions and expand access to comprehensive reproductive health care.” 

Tell the President: Stand Up for Abortion Access for All

Every year, Congress denies abortion coverage for women who receive health insurance through the federal government. President Obama could do something about that, however. That’s why we’re asking you to tell the President to take a step toward protecting and expanding women’s access to comprehensive reproductive health care by excluding these bans in his budget.

Our board chair, Dr. Nancy Stanwood, said:

These restrictions have been a part of federal budgets since 1977. Withholding insurance coverage for abortion creates profound hardships for women and their families, particularly for those who already face significant barriers to receiving high-quality health care. This is a terrible injustice, and it needs to end this year. Thirty-eight years of inequity is enough!

Please take a moment and take action today

Dr. Stanwood to Politicians: Get Out of Our Exam Rooms

Our board chair, Dr. Nancy L. Stanwood, spoke on a panel at a Yale Law School event titled "Public Health in the Shadow of the First Amendment." Dr. Stanwood addressed the profound harm caused by legislation that interferes with the doctor-patient relationship, particularly as it pertains to reproductive health care:

"The practice of medicine by legislators who have no medical background and have an ideological agenda is incredibly damaging to the profession of medicine, and I'm hoping that more physicians will see this, and that it's not just those of us who … provide abortion services for patients but that other doctors will also see this."

Watch the 11-minute video of her talk here or on YouTube.