Pro-abortion rights protesters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 2, 2016. Source: AP/Susan Walsh
Washington, D.C. —(ENEWSPF)–June 13, 2016. As millions of women across the country wait for the U.S. Supreme Court to issue a decision in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Center for American Progress released a new issue brief today detailing how the Court’s decision could have wide-reaching implications for medical practice in the United States.
In March, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case commonly referred to as Whole Woman’s Health, a case regarding the constitutionality of Texas’s H.B. 2, one of the country’s most restrictive abortion laws. Specifically, a medical clinic is challenging two provisions of the Texas law—a requirement that all abortion providers have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals and a requirement that all clinics providing abortion care adhere to specialized building standards meant for a different type of clinic. Both the American Medical Association, or AMA, and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, or ACOG, oppose the restrictions as unnecessary and even dangerous.
“Politicians cannot be allowed to override a doctor’s judgment and medical expertise in ways that harm patients’ health and safety,” said Maggie Jo Buchanan, Associate Director of the Women’s Health and Rights Program at CAP and author of the issue brief. “While the Court must rule on the side of providers and women in Whole Woman’s Health, more must also be done to prevent bad politics from making bad medicine.”
Governmental interference in the safe practice of abortion care has become the norm as patient privacy and safety, as well as the patient-provider relationship, have been eroded by policymakers working to advance their political ideology. However, such interference is not limited to abortion care: For example, there has been an uptick in legislation to institute gag-orders on medical providers to keep them from speaking with their patients about gun safety.
If the U.S. Supreme Court were to uphold Texas’s H.B. 2 in Whole Woman’s Health, it would not only serve as a severe setback for women’s reproductive rights—it could also embolden politicians to interfere in other medical decisions under the guise of promoting health and safety.
As CAP’s new issue brief argues, when it comes to patient health and safety, policymakers must listen to medical expertise and judgment in crafting any legislation. Politicians should not impose their extreme political beliefs and get in between a woman and her doctor; government interference that hurts the health and safety of patients in any setting, including abortion care, must be prohibited. If politicians continue to be allowed to place medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion, there is nothing to stop them from interfering in other medical decisions as well.
Read the issue brief: When It Comes to Your Health Whose Judgment Do You Trust? by Maggie Buchanan
- Everything You Need to Know About Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt by Heidi Williamson, Kulsum Ebrahim, Andrew Satter
- A Cautionary Tale from Texas for Low-Income Women in Ohio by Heidi Williamson, via TalkPoverty.org
- Changing the Conversation about Abortion Restrictions by Donna Barry, Andrea D. Friedman, Sarah Lipton-Lubet
- Improving Abortion Access by Expanding Those Who Provide Care by Donna Barry and Julia Rugg
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