Top physician groups oppose Texas Heartbeat Act

The American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American College of Physicians, the American Osteopathic Association, and the American Psychiatric Association released a statement today in opposition of Senate Bill 8 (SB 8), which is also known as the Texas Heartbeat Act.

Together, they appealed to the courts to strongly strike down this and any similar legislation.

The law prohibits abortions as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy, whenever an ultrasound can detect cardiac activity. Medical counseling and abortion-related support also are included in the ban. The legislation took effect Wednesday, September 1, and violates the constitutional right established under Roe v. Wade. The law, however, would not be enforced by the state. Instead, private citizens could sue abortion providers and anyone involved in aiding or abetting an abortion after a “heartbeat” is detected.

In the statement, the organizations said the following: “Patients must be able to depend on their physicians to help them make critical decisions about their personal health, including reproductive health,” they said. “To that end, we fundamentally oppose the unprecedented ability for private citizens to take legal action against individuals who help a woman obtain an abortion, including physicians providing necessary, evidence-based care for their patients. Physicians must be able to practice medicine that is informed by their years of medical education, training, experience, and the available evidence, freely and without the threat of punishment, harassment, or retribution.”

In his statement released on September 1, President Joe Biden vowed to defend reproductive rights:

“The Texas law will significantly impair women’s access to the health care they need, particularly for communities of color and individuals with low incomes. And, outrageously, it deputizes private citizens to bring lawsuits against anyone who they believe has helped another person get an abortion, which might even include family members, health care workers, front desk staff at a health care clinic, or strangers with no connection to the individual. My administration is deeply committed to the constitutional right established in Roe v. Wade nearly five decades ago and will protect and defend that right.”

The organizations involved in this opposition represent nearly 600,000 physicians and medical students, and believe that patients and physicians should be the ones making medical decisions.

Stay tuned to www.contemporaryobgyn.net for continued coverage of this issue.