September 8, 2021—The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), the oldest multispecialty women’s professional medical organization, upholds the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship and advocates for the delivery of quality healthcare that does not perpetuate or exacerbate health disparities.
Every individual deserves the right to seek medical advice with the understanding that their privacy will be honored without fear of reprisal. As such, AMWA firmly opposes any legislation that attempts to undermine access to quality healthcare for all—an essential element of our mission— including reproductive services.
Restricting access to or banning safe, legal abortions will not end efforts to terminate pregnancies; such restrictions only lead to medical procedures intended to put a woman’s life at risk as was the case before the enactment of Roe vs Wade. Individuals with financial means will still be able to seek abortion care outside the state of Texas, leaving individuals who cannot afford to leave their jobs or families without a safe option for terminating a pregnancy. This inequity in medical care fails to assure that every individual has equal and just access to reproductive services, and the right to self-determination in family planning.
AMWA concurs with the many other medical organizations and advocates that are speaking out against the draconian measures presented in TX SB8, including the ability of any individual to bring a civil action against those they perceive to have aided and abetted a violation under this bill. As women physicians, we support and respect the right of every individual to determine for themselves if and when they may become and remain pregnant. We remain steadfast in our position that all pregnancy decisions should remain a private matter between the individual and their physician, just as we did in 2016—AMWA championed the decision of the Supreme Court in deciding to overturn the restrictions the Texas legislature placed on abortion clinics. And, again in 2019, AMWA issued a statement against a very restrictive abortion law passed in Alabama that made it a felony for physicians to care for individuals who sought to terminate a pregnancy.
The American Medical Women’s Association urges the end to any legal approach aimed at limiting the ability of every individual to seek medical care to support their own mental and physical wellbeing. Medical decisions, including those related to reproductive care, should remain outside the realm of politics. Access to health care must be permitted without external pressures imposed by any person or group who is not qualified to make medical decisions.
Prepared by the AWMA Advocacy Committee