A new policy paper from ACP states that patients need to be able to access comprehensive reproductive health services, including abortion, without undue government interference.
“Reproductive Health Policy in the United States: An ACP Policy Brief” details recommendations to protect patient access to care and opposes efforts to criminalize the practice of medicine. The paper was published Feb. 28 by Annals of Internal Medicine.
ACP's recommendations oppose government restrictions that would erode equitable access to reproductive health care services, including family planning, sexual health information, the full range of medically accepted forms of contraception, and abortion. ACP also opposes criminal or civil penalties for providing or otherwise facilitating clinically appropriate health care services that meet the standard of care. The recommendations specifically denounce regulations that allow private citizens to enforce state laws and the use of personal health information to prosecute or penalize individuals. Finally, ACP affirms that individuals should have access to high-quality health care regardless of where they live, including the ability to have legally prescribed drugs shipped and delivered and the freedom to travel across state or U.S. borders to access health care services.
The paper's authors noted that the recent Supreme Court decision in Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization has led to stringent restrictions on reproductive services and criminal penalties for physicians who provide or refer patients for abortion care, exacerbating existing health care disparities. “In light of these challenges, ACP reaffirms one's right to obtain comprehensive reproductive health services without undue government interference, including abortion; supports efforts to expand access to care through the freedom to travel to seek medical care and ability to receive prescription medication in the mail or via other shipping and delivery services; and opposes efforts to criminalize the practice of medicine and restrict access to care,” they wrote. The recommendations update and expand on ACP's 2018 paper, “Women's Health Policy in the United States,” which was published in Annals of Internal Medicine in June 2018.