In response to the confirmation of Senator Jeff Sessions to Attorney General, Dr. Willie Parker, Board Chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health, issued the following statement:
“As a physician from Alabama who provides abortions, I have seen firsthand how Jeff Sessions’ brand of politics endangers the health and safety of women and families. His extreme record of hostility towards reproductive rights stands in the way of his ability to protect the constitutional right to abortion and the safety of patients and providers. This is unacceptable for any officeholder, but especially worrisome for someone who is now the chief law enforcement official of our great country.
As proponents of quality reproductive health care, we are dedicated to helping women and men exercise their right to lives of autonomy, dignity, self-determination, and opportunity. Not only has Senator Sessions voted against protecting reproductive health care providers and their patients from clinic violence and harassment, Senator Sessions has a record that is marred by racism. He has also made troubling comments about sexual assault victims, and he has voted against protections for the LGBT community. These are not the actions of someone who will protect our citizens or their fundamental rights.
Despite the challenges that Jeff Sessions’ confirmation as Attorney General will pose, we must remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., ‘The time is always ripe to do right.’ It is now more important than ever that physicians continue to fight for the right to safe, comprehensive reproductive health care.”
President Trump announced the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to Merrick Garland’s seat on the Supreme Court. Jodi Magee, President and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health, responds:
“The nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch is deeply concerning, as President Trump has promised that any judge he nominates will overturn Roe v. Wade. Any prospective Supreme Court nominee must hold views consistent with the Constitution and settled law about a woman’s ability to make her own reproductive health decisions. That must include upholding Roe v. Wade—the law of the land for 44 years. Women rely on this decision every day.
The founders of Physicians for Reproductive Health saw incredible suffering when abortion was illegal and women were forced to go outside of the medical field for a medical procedure. Those doctors were forever marked by their experiences treating patients who had perforated uteruses from knitting needles and wire hangers. Seeing this suffering made our founders determined to advocate for legal abortion across the country.
Not only do we need a justice will who preserve Roe v. Wade, we need someone who will focus on the evidence of what is and is not beneficial to women’s health. Burdensome restrictions that lessen access to abortion care do not advance women’s health, as the Supreme Court recognized in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt.
As one of the 10th Circuit Court Judges who ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, Judge Gorsuch put an employer’s personal beliefs over a patient’s right to access medical treatment. He has a record of undermining health care access for women and is not someone who will reject medically unnecessary restrictions that endanger women.
We cannot go backward or it will be at the expense of the well-being of the women our physicians care for every day. These are our friends, sisters, mothers, and daughters as one in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime. We urge the Senate to reject Judge Gorsuch because he does not meet the essential qualifications for service on our highest court.”
As the confirmation processes of the new administration’s anti-choice Cabinet nominees move forward, it is critical that Senators vote against the nominations of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for U.S. Attorney General, Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, and Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) for Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). All three nominations form an alarming pattern of appointments by the new administration that pose a direct attack on women’s health. In response, Dr. Anne Davis, Consulting Medical Director of Physicians for Reproductive Health, issued the following statement:
“Sen. Sessions brings an alarming record of extreme hostility toward patients and reproductive health care providers. He has repeatedly voted against an amendment that would prevent perpetrators of violent crimes against abortion providers from evading fines by filing for bankruptcy. He also opposed the creation of a ‘Women’s Health Care and Clinic Security and Safety Fund’ that would provide safety measures for reproductive health providers and clinics. Patients and clinic staff need protection from violence and harassment and Sen. Sessions’ strong anti-abortion positions call into question his ability to protect us. Sen. Sessions also has a troubling history of racism and bigotry that rightfully causes great concern for many of us, our patients, and their communities.
Rep. Price puts politics before medicine. Instead of voting for medically sound policies that prioritize the well-being of patients, Rep. Price’s votes have threatened the health of women around the country and shown that he does not understand what women need from their doctors. We expect the leader of HHS to understand and apply evidence-based medicine to improve health outcomes for everyone, not make them worse.
Betsy DeVos, who would to lead the federal government’s education programs, supports abstinence-only sex education – proven ineffective time and time again. She also supports crisis pregnancy centers that deliberately mislead patients about their pregnancy options including abortion.
We strongly urge Senators to stand up for the health and rights of their constituents and vote against the confirmations of Sen. Sessions, DeVos, and Rep. Price. The health and well-being of our nation depends on it.”
Physicians for Reproductive Health joins more than 80 other organizations in supporting the reintroduction of the Equal Access to Coverage in Health Insurance Act, or EACH Woman Act, in the House of Representatives. Dr. Diane Horvath-Cosper responds to the introduction of the EACH Woman Act in a statement:
“The EACH Woman Act is a vision for how our patients should be able to get the care they need—without lack of coverage standing in the way. It would lift unnecessary and dangerous bans on abortion coverage and ensure that all women, regardless of what they earn, can make decisions about abortion with dignity and respect. For too long, politicians have interfered in our exam rooms and pushed abortion care out of reach for millions of patients.
Patients like Maria*, who lives in Washington, DC, just south of the Maryland border. She is insured by DC Medicaid, which has taken care of her medical needs for years as she has worked hard to support her children with three part-time jobs, none of which offer insurance coverage. When Maria’s contraception failed and she became pregnant, she said she needed to think first of her family and her ability to provide for them. She chose to have an abortion, and was shocked to learn that her insurance would not cover the procedure because of the Hyde Amendment. She was especially upset when she learned that if she had lived less than a half a mile to the north, in Maryland, the procedure would have been covered under Maryland Medicaid. Maria scrambled to collect the money to pay for the procedure, which was a significant financial hardship that required her to make a decision between paying for her abortion or paying for basic necessities like food and rent.
Physicians yearn to be able to provide safe and compassionate care to all our patients, not just those who have resources. The Hyde Amendment disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable—low-income women, women of color, immigrant women, and young people—and flies in the face of our commitment to care for all patients. We urge representatives to support the EACH Woman Act to protect the freedoms of women and families.”
*Name was changed.
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