A recent study indicated that receiving donations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ national political action committee did not lead to shifts in legislators’ positions on abortion from 2012 to 2022.
Donations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) through its national political action committee (PAC), Ob-GynPAC, is not associated with a shift from an anti-abortion access position to a pro-abortion access position, according to a recent study published in JAMA Network Open.
Over 60,000 obstetricians and gynecologists in the United States are represented by ACOG, which has stated abortion is essential health care. ACOG has continuously opposed restrictions to abortion, and a key method of accomplishing this has been through its PAC, Ob-GynPAC.
Congressional election outcomes are significantly impacted by PAC donations, allowing senators and representatives to advance their legislative agendas. This indicates federal legislation is a vital area for enacting abortion policy in the United States, along with local, state, executive, and judicial level decisions.
To understand how Ob-GynPAC donations affect federal abortion legislation, investigators conducted a study evaluating positions on abortion policy from legislators supported by Ob-GynPAC from January 1, 2012, to June 30, 2022. Data was extracted from the Federal Election Committee website.
Individuals elected to the Senate or House of Representatives were included in the analysis. As nonvoting members of Congress did not contribute to voting on legislation, they were excluded from the study.
Abortion policy position of legislators supported by Ob-GynPAC was the primary measure of the study. Legislators’ public statements and voting history on legislation for abortion access were used to classify them as pro-abortion access or anti-abortion access, along with whether they had spoken for or against Roe v. Wade.
There were 294 legislators analyzed during the study period, 116 of which were categorized as anti-abortion access and 178 pro-abortion access. Of the anti-abortion access legislators, 70 were anti-Roe v. Wade.
All but 5 legislators had consistent stances on abortion from 2012 to 2022, and only 1 legislator switched from anti-abortion access to pro-abortion access. The most recent position on abortion access was used for legislators who switched during the study period.
A total of $3,363,126 was donated to federal legislators from Ob-GynPAC, $2,597,358 to the House of Representatives and $765,768 to the Senate. Of this, 37.8% went to anti-abortion access legislators and 62.2% to pro-abortion access legislators.
Legislators who spoke out against Roe v. Wade received 44.7% of donations. As a major portion of Ob-GynPAC donations went to anti-abortion access legislators, this support likely helped them remain in office and advance legislative agendas.
Results of the study did not indicate that Ob-GynPAC support leads to a shift from an anti-abortion access position to a pro-abortion access position, potentially undermining ACOG’s commitment to abortion access by supporting legislators who oppose abortion.
Chhabria K, Raman V, Aghagoli G, Brown BP. Abortion policy positions of federal legislators who received support from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2012-2022. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(4):e2310405. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.10405