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.

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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.

Texas: Our Board Chair Dr. Nancy Stanwood’s Statement

Dr. Nancy StanwoodStatement from Board Chair Nancy Stanwood, MD, MPH:

"The assault on access to safe and legal abortion for the women of Texas continues. Overnight, nearly 1 million women have been left without access to abortion as clinics providing compassionate, quality abortion care are forced to close due to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision to allow medically unnecessary abortion restrictions to go into effect. This ruling will have a devastating effect on those women’s lives and on the health and well-being of Texas women and families.

"As a doctor-led advocacy organization that uses medical evidence to advocate for reproductive health access for all, we stand against legislation that undermines the ability of health care professionals to provide women with safe care. Abortion has an enviable safety record, with a 99 percent safety rate and a less than one percent complication rate. We are deeply concerned for the women of Texas who are left today with no access to services, and for the health care providers who are no longer able to care for the women in their communities."

Doctors Speak Out for Women’s Health Protection Act

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a groundbreaking piece of proactive, pro-choice legislation: the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would create much-needed federal protections against state-level restrictions on reproductive rights.

Dr. Nancy StanwoodPhysicians for Reproductive Health submitted written testimony from board chair Dr. Nancy Stanwood (left) in support of the Act. From her testimony:

“Every woman has her own unique circumstances and must be able to make personal medical decisions, including the decision to have an abortion, without political interference.… As physicians, we work every day to make sure our patients receive the high-quality health care they need in a safe, respectful environment. We need the Women’s Health Protection Act to ensure that all women have access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including abortion, regardless of where they live. It is critical to the lives and health of our patients that this bill passes.”

Read the entire testimony here.

Dr. Willie Parker at WHPAIn addition, our board member Dr. Willie Parker (pictured at right, with Center for Reproductive Rights president and CEO Nancy Northup, who also testified) testified on behalf of the women he serves in Mississippi, where there now is only one clinic at which women can access safe, legal abortion care. Speaking about his work, Dr. Parker testified:

“I want for women what I want for myself: a life of dignity, health, self-determination, and the opportunity to excel and contribute. We know that when women have access to abortion, contraception, and medically accurate sex education, they thrive. It should be the same for all women, no matter where they live.”

Watch video of his testimony on C-SPAN here, and read his testimony here

Statement of Dr. Willie Parker, Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on S. 1696, Women’s Health Protection Act

“I want for women what I want for myself: a life of dignity, health, self-determination, and the opportunity to excel and contribute. We know that when women have access to abortion, contraception, and medically accurate sex education, they thrive. It should be the same for all women, no matter where they live. The ability to live the life you imagine should not be limited by your zip code.”