Restore and Protect Reproductive Care

The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) has advocated for comprehensive reproductive health throughout its history and remains committed to supporting reproductive rights for all patients, including access to safe and legal abortions.

 

The nuances and considerations involved in reproductive care go far beyond what can be addressed through public discourse. Just as other complex healthcare decisions cannot and should not be decided by politicians, our judicial system, or strangers, neither should decisions about pregnancy care. These are decisions that should be made by the patient in consultation with their physician or healthcare practitioner.

Legal restrictions to abortion care may have serious, life-altering consequences regarding treatment for preeclampsia, ectopic pregnancy, and miscarriage, cancer therapeutics, rheumatologic disorders, fertility treatment, and more. These are just a few of the factors that impact some of the complex decision-making that occurs around pregnancy care, decisions which may only be determined on a case-by-case basis when a patient presents to their physician. Physicians must be free to determine the best possible care informed by clinical training and evidence-based guidelines — unimpeded by legislative interference.

Our Focus — address the changing landscape for reproductive care both at the state and federal level through Town Halls for clinicians, Public Forums to educate patients, and the Reproductive Health Coalition, founded to unite healthcare organizations and allies.

 

JOIN THE STEERING COMMITTEE


 

REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH COALITION

AMWA, in partnership with Doctors for America, has co-founded the Reproductive Health Coalition, a wide-range of health professional associations and allied organizations who advocate with a unified voice to protect access to reproductive care.

The tenets of this work include:

  • A patient’s right to dignity, autonomy, privacy, and the expectation of a trusted relationship with their clinician.
  • Protection of the clinician’s ethical obligation to provide care including their access to comprehensive training.
  • A commitment to an evidence-based approach to change policy (provide comprehensive training) and practice.

LEARN MORE     JOIN THE COALITION


 

TOWN HALLS on REPRODUCTIVE CARE POST-ROE

Following the Supreme Court decision on Dobbs and the overturn of Roe v. Wade, AMWA hosted a series of town halls to provide a safe space where women in medicine could come together to voice concerns, raise questions, and share stories. In a growing number of states, physicians fear repercussions from new laws that could unwittingly lead to criminal indictment while in the course of providing standard medical care. We want to explore the impact that this changing clinical landscape is presenting to practitioners and trainees across all specialties as well as to provide resources and action steps in ways that might make a positive difference in medicine and for our patients


 

 REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SALONS, A PUBLIC FORUM

In 2022, AMWA partnered with HealthyWomen and Moms Rising to present bimonthly public forums to help the wider community understand the complexities involved in providing reproductive care from the practitioner point of view.

Past Reproductive Health Salons

  • Reproductive Health Salons – Faced with Having an Abortion: 2 Women’s Experiences (Oct. 26, 2022)

    • Julie Whitsett and Dr. Mellinger-Birdsong see the need to go public with their story to normalize the way the decision to have an abortion often occurs. In this public forum, they will share their stories and why making such a decision is and should remain a personal one.

  • Reproductive Health Salons – Plan to Pregnant or Be? (Sept. 28, 2022)
    • Our first discussion highlights experiences of OBGYN physicians, one who worked before abortions became legal and another who has always worked while abortion has been legal until the recent changes. Join us to hear about the impact on physicians and understand their experiences. The forum will end with a Q&A session and a discussion. This series is presented in partnership with HealthyWomen and MomsRising.
    • Marguerite Shepard, MD is a Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility Specialist in Indianapolis, IN and has over 58 years of experience in the medical field. She graduated from Johns Hopkins U, School of Medicine medical school in 1963 and is retired Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics & Gynecology at IUSM. She practiced before abortion was legal and will speak on her experiences. She does not speak on behalf of IUSM.
    • Octavia Cannon, DO is an OBGYN and past president of the American College of Osteopathic OB/GYN (ACOOG). She is a practicing physician in Michigan and has been trained and practiced when abortion has been legal.
    • Moderated by Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, MD an internist and president of AMWA

 

OTHER EVENTS

Past Events

Past Events (AMWA Members can access videos in the Learning Hub)

  • Bioethics in the Post-Roe Era: Perspectives from Clinician Ethicists (Dec. 15, 2022)Curious about the intersection of bioethics and reproductive health? Hear from two distinguished clinician ethicists, Dr. Alyssa Burgart, MD, MA (Stanford anesthesiologist) and Dr. Amanika Kumar, MD (Mayo Clinic gynecologic oncologist) about ethical issues related to abortion care in the post-Roe era, in addition to their unique career paths in clinical ethics. This is a timely and important discussion for all women in medicine —You don’t want to miss it!  If you cannot join us on this date, please register so we know to provide you access to the recording after the event concludes.
  • Medication Abortion 101: What It Is and How It Helps (Oct. 12, 2022)AMWA offers this program to introduce what medication abortion is and when it is appropriate. This content is intended for physicians, fellows, residents, and medical students, to be better informed about the appropriate use of this method of abortion. And, we will have a discussion of the legal implications for prescribers and patients.
  • Reproductive Care and the Supreme Court Virtual Webinar (Feb. 23, 2022)
    • Reproductive Care and the Supreme Court: What Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization and other cases will mean for women and their physicians.
    • We will be discussing the timely and crucial topic of how the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization will affect women’s access to reproductive care and its impact on the physicians who treat them.
    • Katie Watson, JD, Associate Professor of Medical Social Sciences, Medical Education, and Ob/Gyn, Faculty, Medical Humanities & Bioethics Graduate Program, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. A powerhouse in reproductive law and ethics, Prof. Watson has been an advocate, author, and speaker on the need for continued reproductive rights.
    • Katherine McHugh, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, Indiana University School of Medicine, ACOG member. Dr. McHugh is a practicing OBGYN in Indiana who understands the implications of the current cases in front of the SCOTUS and that are being presented in states across the country.

 

ADVOCACY

 

Advocacy Timeline

2022:

December 2022 – AMWA signs on to letter supporting the passage of a “shield law” in New York State that would protect clinicians who want to provide telemedicine abortion into the banned and restricted st

ates

November 28, 2022 – AMWA signed on letter to letter to legislative leaders on the importance of sexual and reproductive health priorities in the final FY23 omnibus

October 4, 2022 – AMWA submitted comment to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA): The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) Military members support the provision to provide appropriate reproductive healthcare by including abortion care for all who obtain their health care at a VA facility. Abortion is an often life-saving part of health care and when a physician (or other clinician) and the patient enter into a shared decision making process, both should be assured that the care needed will be able to be rendered. When appropriate healthcare is needed, the decision on how to provide and receive that care is the purview of the patient and the physician/clinician. AMWA salutes the VA for ensuring the inclusion of abortion as health care.

October 4, 2022 – AMWA signed on to a petition calling the FDA to add miscarriage management as an indication to mifepristone’s approval, and to eliminate or modify mifepristone’s Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) so that it is not unduly burdensome for that use (Petition)

October 2022 – AMWA signs on to the women’s reproductive health letter to congressional leaders (Draft)

September 2022 – AMWA Stands with Physicians Performing Abortion Services in the Wake of Roe Being Overturned
AMWA has always upheld the right to reproductive healthcare services on behalf of both patients and physicians. AMWA fully supports physicians who are putting forth their best effort to provide abortion care that complies with current, albeit sometimes convoluted and harmful legal standards, some of which seek to punish them for doing their duty as physicians.

September 2022 – AMWA Opposes a National Ban on Abortion After 15 Weeks
The proposed national ban on abortion after 15 weeks is not based on medical science and introduces intrusion into the patient-physician relationship. The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) ardently opposes the legislation of health care, including abortion and other reproductive care.

August 9, 2022 – AMWA participated with Doctors for America’s (DFA) FDA Task Force in a letter to Secretary Becerra thanking him for protecting patients across the country with the recent Executive Order safeguarding access to reproductive health care services. Doctors for America’s (DFA) FDA Task Force and the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) support the Administration’s work to ensure that Americans are able to obtain the healthcare they need without barriers. The letter also included additional recommendations on how to further protect and expand access to reproductive care

August 2022 – AMWA Opposes Legislative Limits to Abortion
The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) is dedicated to the advancement of reproductive health and supports access to safe and legal abortion as part of comprehensive reproductive health care for all. We oppose legislation that limits access to abortion, such as that recently passed in Indiana.

July 7, 2022 – Following the decision overturning the protections affording by Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, AMWA is joining the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Medical Association in a statement condemning legislative interference in the practice of medicine, including abortion as well as the dangerous expansion of legislative interference that it portends.

July 2022 – AMWA Endorses Presidential Executive Order to Protect Reproductive Rights
The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) supports the efforts made by President Biden to protect access to reproductive health services announced in an Executive Order today. In particular, AMWA upholds the commitment to safeguard reproductive rights, specifically to:

  • Protect access to FDA-approved medication abortion Ensure that patients are able to receive emergency medical care related to pregnancy and miscarriage
  • Enable interstate travel to attain abortion care and maintain access to contraception
  • Protect the privacy of an individual’s health information, including reproductive health information

May 10, 2022 – AMWA signs on to letter to the Senate supporting passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act

May 2022 – AMWA supports the resolution put forth by the AMA Resident Section on Preserving Access to Reproductive Health Services

May 2022 – AMWA Continues to Support Reproductive Rights for All Including Access to Safe and Legal Abortions
The American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) has advocated for comprehensive reproductive health throughout its history and remains committed to supporting reproductive rights for all patients, including access to safe and legal abortions.

May 2022 – AMWA Supports Access to Safe and Legal Abortion
As an organization dedicated to the advancement of reproductive health, the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) supports access to safe and legal abortion as part of comprehensive reproductive health care for all.

April 21, 2022 – AMWA signs on to letter to the House and Senate supporting increased funding for international family planning and reproductive health programs and address policies that limit the effectiveness of these programs in the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs FY 2023 Appropriations bill

March 28, 2022 – AMWA joins a second amicus brief with ACOG regarding Montana Planned Parenthood and restrictive access to abortion.

March 24, 2022 – AMWA joins amicus brief with ACOG and other organizations in the Montana Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood of Montana, et al. v. Montana that concerns three Montana bills that collectively restrict access to abortion by prohibiting abortion starting at 20 weeks and by requiring additional steps prior to receiving an abortion

March 2022 – AMWA joins ACOG in the amicus brief for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota v. Noem (21-2913), currently before the 8th Circuit, that challenges a 2011 South Dakota law requiring patients to visit a “Pregnancy Help Center” (PHC)

March 2022 – AMWA joins ACOG in the amicus brief for Planned Parenthood of Montana v. Montana, DA 21-0521 that challenges three abortion restrictions passed by the legislature and signed by the governor in 2021 (the laws are currently enjoined and not in force)

February 1, 2022 – AMWA signs on to letter urging Senators to support the Women’s Health Protection Act (S. 1975)