Physicians for Reproductive Health Helps Physicians Change Policy

Physicians for Reproductive Health provides opportunities for physicians to get involved in local, state, and federal public policy issues. Our physicians are the best messengers to provide medically accurate information on reproductive health issues to lawmakers and the public. With Physicians for Reproductive Health, your voice can be heard!

Physicians for Reproductive Health supports policies that promote reproductive healthcare for all, including increased access to birth control, emergency contraception, and abortion services, as well as comprehensive sex education. We oppose policies that place politics over science at the expense of the reproductive healthcare of women, men, and teens.

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Physicians Outraged at Amendment One Vote in Tennessee; Praise Results on Measures in Colorado and North Dakota

Doctors group weighs in on ballot initiatives

New York, NY — Yesterday, three states — Colorado, North Dakota and Tennessee — voted on ballot initiatives affecting women’s access to safe and legal abortion.

In Tennessee, voters approved a change to the state constitution that will eliminate all protections for abortion in the state.  State legislators have already pledged to move forward anti-choice legislation such as a mandatory delay for women seeking an abortion and additional restrictions on abortion facilities.

Physicians for Reproductive Health Reproductive Health Advocacy Fellow Dr. Kathleen Morrell weighs in:

“It is difficult to express how disappointed we are in the outcome in Tennessee. As physicians who care for women, our foremost concern is protecting our patients’ health and safety, and nothing about Amendment 1 furthers those interests. In fact, the measures that will likely result from this change to Tennessee’s constitution could jeopardize the health of Tennessee women by restricting their access to abortion. Additionally, given the reproductive rights landscape of neighboring states, the impact of this Amendment will likely be felt by women across the Southeast.

“As physicians we know that imposing waiting periods or medically unnecessary requirements like admitting privileges do not make abortion safer. Government should never interfere with a woman’s personal and private decisions about her pregnancy.

“We are thankful that voters in Colorado and North Dakota voted to protect women’s health, rejecting so-called personhood initiatives. They saw through the misleading campaigns and resoundingly defeated measures that would have endangered women’s access to abortion. This is the third time that Colorado has rejected a personhood measure.

“We will continue working to make sure that every woman has access to the reproductive health care she needs. Abortion is a key component of basic health care; one in three women will have an abortion by the age of 45 and it is imperative that women have access to safe and legal abortion care.” 

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