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:

Supreme Court Takes Up Challenge to Texas Clinic Shutdown Law

SCOTUSWe are thrilled to learn that the Supreme Court of the United States will hear the case that will determine whether the state of Texas can shut down nearly all abortion care providers in the state, placing countless women at risk. In Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, our colleagues at the Center for Reproductive Rights are representing medical caregivers in their efforts to ensure women’s access to safe and legal abortion care.

Our board chair Dr. Nancy Stanwood responded to the news: “Laws like HB 2 create sharp disparities in access to care that are reminiscent of the time before Roe v. Wade, when abortion access depended on a woman’s socioeconomic status, where she lived, or her ability to travel elsewhere to get the care she needed. This must stop. It is our hope that the Supreme Court will uphold the Constitution and protect a woman’s right to access safe, legal health care without these undue burdens.”

Read her entire statement here. 

Doctors Group Responds to Supreme Court’s Movement on Clinic Shutdown Laws

Deceptive, dangerous laws like HB 2 do nothing to protect women’s health

New York, NY—Physicians for Reproductive Health hails the Supreme Court’s decision to review Texas’ burdensome and dangerous clinic shutdown law, HB 2.

From board chair Nancy Stanwood, MD, MPH:

“Reproductive clinic shutdown laws are counter to good medical practice and dangerous for women. While their proponents claim to be protecting women’s health, they are doing the exact opposite by making safe care out of reach. By these unnecessary and manipulative laws, Texas legislators disrespect Texas women and harm their health.

“As a physician caring for women for two decades, I say most emphatically to the politicians who crafted these dangerous restrictions: If you really are concerned with the care a woman receives, you would lift the restrictions that bar access to high quality, safe, legal abortion care—not shut down the compassionate and reputable health care professionals who offer it.

“Laws like HB 2 create sharp disparities in access to care that are reminiscent of the time before Roe v. Wade, when abortion access depended on a woman’s socioeconomic status, where she lived, or her ability to travel elsewhere to get the care she needed. This must stop. It is our hope that the Supreme Court will uphold the Constitution and protect a woman’s right to access safe, legal health care without these undue burdens.”


Doctors Group Decries Continuing Legislative Attacks on Reproductive Health Care

“These bills are merely part of an ongoing campaign that seeks to make it harder for us to provide safe, legal care.”

New York, NY—With the passage today of H.R. 3134 – Defund Planned Parenthood Act of 2015 and H.R. 3504 – Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, anti-choice members of the House of Representatives continued their assault on the practice of medicine and their reckless disregard for the health of millions of Americans.

Physicians for Reproductive Health Reproductive Health Advocacy Fellow Dr. Pratima Gupta said:

“These bills are merely part of an ongoing campaign that seeks to discredit reproductive health care providers and to make it harder for my colleagues and me to provide safe, legal care to our patients.

“Millions of women are served each year by Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of reproductive health care in the United States. From birth control to cancer screening and abortion care, Planned Parenthood provides care that patients may not be able to access or afford elsewhere. If supporters of this legislation truly cared about women’s health, they would support programs like Title X that increase access to affordable preventive care through trusted health care providers like Planned Parenthood.

“Abortion opponents in Congress want to close the doors of Planned Parenthood and make abortion unavailable. My colleagues and I recognize the importance of access to abortion and the incredible loss that would result should Planned Parenthood be barred from participation in federal programs like Medicaid. In the face of these ongoing legislative attacks, Physicians will stand strong in support of Planned Parenthood and safe, legal abortion.”


Newsletter: Summer Roundup – We’ve Been Busy!

We Stand With Planned Parenthood and All Providers Under Attack

We Stand With Abortion Care ProvidersThis has been a nonstop summer here at Physicians. We’ve been exceptionally busy, our doctors providing voices of reason in the media and on the Hill—particularly in response to the harmful attacks on our colleagues at Planned Parenthood. As President/CEO Jodi Magee said, “Physicians for Reproductive Health deplores the deceptive tactics used to distort and malign the importance of fetal tissue donation and offers support for women and providers that make the compassionate decision to donate.”

We are outraged at what’s happening, and are doing everything we can to fight back.

  • Physicians signed on to a letter with 17 other medical organizations to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), urging them to oppose Congressional efforts to deny Planned Parenthood federal public health funds. We also joined with 91 other organizations in a letter of support for Planned Parenthood to members of Congress.
  • We released a statement of support, which reads in part: We stand in solidarity with all the providers and clinicians who have been unfairly and inappropriately depicted in a smear campaign intent on destroying their integrity. These are our friends, and they have dedicated their professional and personal lives to ensuring access to safe, legal, and compassionate care for anyone who needs it.

And of course we’re speaking out:

  • President/CEO Jodi Magee published a letter in the New York Times, calling for more doctors to stand up and support abortion providers, noting, “While women who have abortions need our support, so do the doctors who care for them.”
  • Consulting medical director Dr. Anne Davis appeared on MSNBC’s Now with Alex Wagner to offer scientific facts about fetal tissue donation.
  • Davis was also interviewed by Yahoo! Health News about the importance of fetal tissue donation. This led to another piece on Yahoo! Health News about why women may choose to donate fetal tissue.
  • Board chair-elect Dr. Willie Parker was interviewed by Cosmopolitan about why he is standing with his colleague Dr. Deborah Nucatola at Planned Parenthood. His interview was quoted in an RH Reality Check article about why abortion providers should take legal action against the Center for Medical Progress. Parker also appeared on the news program Democracy Now!
  • Former Physicians board chair Dr. Suzanne Poppema published an op-ed in the Seattle Times in response to the attacks on Planned Parenthood.
  • Leadership Training Academy (LTA) alumna Dr. Sandra Penn spoke to the Albuquerque Journal in reaction to protests in New Mexico that aimed to intimidate women, defund Planned Parenthood, and interfere with access to safe and legal abortion.
  • LTA alumna Dr. Jennifer Kerns spoke to Public News Service about the attacks, noting, “Fetal tissue research is a longstanding area of research, and one that has consistently advanced science and medicine. Every member of society has benefited from treatment discoveries that have been made from this research.”
  • LTA alumna Dr. Leah Torres published a letter in the Salt Lake Tribune outlining the impact that defunding Planned Parenthood would have on the health and wellbeing of Utahns.

As an organization dedicated to ensuring that all people have access to comprehensive reproductive health care, we will continue to be alert to opportunities to speak out, to show our support for Planned Parenthood and all of our allied organizations, and to protect our doctors.

Illinois Minors’ Access Card

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of the 2015 Minors’ Access Card for the state of Illinois, available for download here.

We have updated this popular and important resource to reflect current state law and statutes and organized the information so that it will be easily understood by clinic staff and medical professionals who work with teen populations.

This updated Minors’ Access Card clarifies Illinois state laws around confidentiality and parental notification and provides guidelines for clear communication between physicians and their patients, all of which are essential when providing services to adolescents on critical reproductive and sexual health topics.

This card is the result of a collaboration with the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, the Roger Baldwin Foundation of the American Civil Liberties Union, Inc., the Great Lakes Regional Chapter of the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine, and local physician experts who are part of our Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health Education Program.

Why I Provide

Why I Provide, the video that we unveiled earlier this year and which features five abortion providers discussing their work, is a welcome reminder of what makes our work so meaningful. Telling our stories in the face of adversity is one of the many ways we fight abortion stigma. Please watch it and share it with your friends and loved ones.

Why I Provide

Despite the current climate, we will not be deflected from our mission of advancing reproductive health care for all through our physician-advocates. We thank you for your support that enables us to do this work.