In response to the announcement that the Trump administration will create a new division within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) dedicated to religious refusals of care, Willie Parker, MD, board chair of Physicians for Reproductive Health and Hal C. Lawrence, III, MD, executive vice president and CEO of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), issued the following statement:
“The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and Physicians for Reproductive Health urge the administration in the clearest possible terms to put patients first. No individual, employer, politician or entity should be given legal cover to deny a patient needed medical care.
Denying patient care because of a provider’s personal beliefs can and will have real-world, often life-and-death consequences.
“We are troubled that the new office announced by HHS could embolden some providers and institutions to discriminate against patients based on the patient’s health care decisions. Denying patient care because of a provider’s personal beliefs can and will have real-world, often life-and-death consequences. Every patient should be treated with the compassion, dignity and professionalism they deserve.
“Abortion, contraception and sterilization are a part of comprehensive reproductive health care and are essential to the health of patients. Professional medical organizations have clear guidance on the issue of refusal, noting that refusals of care must not compromise patient health.
“When care is wrongly delayed or denied, our population health deteriorates in general and the health of our patients suffers in particular. ACOG and Physicians for Reproductive Health put patients’ needs first, and the Trump administration should do the same.”