Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision overturning Roe v. Wade, leaving states to decide abortion rights, the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) condemned the decision.
In a Facebook post shortly after the decision was published, the organization wrote: "ACOG condemns today’s Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson as a destructive setback for ob-gyns and patients. However, our resolve is unwavering, and we’ll continue to support all people who struggle against laws and regulations that interfere with the patient–physician relationship and block access to essential health care."
ACOG President Iffath Abbasi Hoskins, MD, FACOG, said, "Today's decision is a direct blow to bodily autonomy, reproductive health, patient safety, and health equity in the United States."
In a comprehensive statement issued on Friday afternoon, ACOG reiterated its disapproval of the ruling and limitations on access to safe abortions.
"Abortion is a safe, essential part of comprehensive health care, and just like any other safe and effective medical intervention, it must be available equitably to people, no matter their race, socioeconomic status or where they reside," says ACOG. "The restrictions put forth are not based on science nor medicine; they allow unrelated third parties to make decisions that rightfully and ethically should be made only by individuals and their physicians."
Additionally, ACOG warned of the inequitable impact of limitations on the access to safe abortion procedures, stating: "When abortion is legal, it is safe. Allowing states to set individual restrictive abortion policies, including restrictions outright bans on this essential component of medical care, results in increased inequities that already plague the health care system and this country...The impact of this irresponsible decision will fall disproportionately on people who already face barriers accessing health care, including people of color, those living in rural areas, and those without ample financial resources."
In a tweet, Planned Parenthood acknowledge the range of emotions many of us are feeling today. "We know you may be feeling a lot of things right now — hurt, anger, confusion. Whatever you feel is OK. We’re here with you — and we’ll never stop fighting for you."
According to ACOG, approximately 21 million women around the world obtain unsafe, illegal abortions each year, and complications from unsafe abortions account for approximately 13% of
all maternal deaths, or 50,000 annually.
Forced pregnancy doesn't just impact physical health, but mental health and economic stability as well. Research shows that it's more difficult for a woman to leave an abusive partner when they have a child together, and between 6% to 22% of women having abortions report recent abuse from an intimate partner. Lack of access to abortion care and forced pregnancy means that women are more likely to remain in physically abusive relationships for another two and a half years. The mental health impacts of intimate partner violence, such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are significant.
What's more, most women seeking abortions are already mothers (60%), and the physical, mental and economic consequences can have a dramatic impact on the entire family, including other children. A 2019 follow-up examination using Turnaway Study data found that restricting a woman’s abortion access may have negative developmental and economic consequences for the children they already have.
ACOG has continuously reiterated that abortion is an essential component of women’s health care.
"Like all medical matters, decisions regarding abortion should be made by patients in consultation with their health care providers and without undue interference by outside parties," ACOG said. "Like all patients, women obtaining abortion are entitled to privacy, dignity, respect, and support."