News: ACOG endorses equitable treatment for lesbian couples

May 1, 2009

ACOG fully supports same federal and state legal protection for lesbian couples as for heterosexual couples.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has expressed full support for giving same-sex couples the same federal and state legal protection heterosexual married couples enjoy. In a Committee Opinion published in Obstetrics and Gynecology (2/2009), ACOG cited the importance of these rights and protections for fulfilling both direct and indirect health care needs. Without these rights, a lesbian can be prevented from seeing her partner in the hospital, for example, or from giving consent for medical care or authorizing emergency treatment and health care decisions for nonbiologic children, and many women in same-sex relationships are unable to take advantage of the federal Family Medical Leave Act.

Many lesbians also experience barriers to health care, including having concerns about confidentiality, discriminatory attitudes and treatment, limited access to health care and health insurance, and an inadequate understanding of their own health risks. In addition, same-sex couples often lack the financial security that is directly related to access to health care because they do not have the financial protections granted to legal spouses, such as eligibility for Social Security benefits and rights to property.