In Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court overruled two prior decisions—Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey—that had protected the right of women to obtain an abortion if they and their healthcare providers determine that is the appropriate medical decision.
The Dobbs decision means that individual states can now decide to take this quintessentially medical judgment away from women and their healthcare providers.
We, concerned members of Georgia’s healthcare community, stand in opposition to any legislation by the Georgia General Assembly to restrict access to reproductive health, and we have signed onto the below letter to make that opposition clear.
If you are healthcare provider in Georgia, please read the letter below and sign on by clicking here.
If you are a Georgia Healthcare professional (provider, trainee, public health professional, etc.) please sign here.>>
If you are an ally from another state >>
To the Georgia General Assembly:
We are a group of healthcare professionals and students in the state of Georgia, and we oppose any laws by the GA State Legislature that would restrict access to reproductive health. We are concerned about the ramifications of Roe v. Wade being overturned and how laws like the 2019 law, H.B. 481, would harm our ability to provide timely, safe, and vital reproductive care to our patients. We urge Georgia lawmakers to protect the right to access abortion.
Abortion is vital healthcare. No number of legal restrictions can change the fact that abortions will always be necessary. Abortion care is indicated for many reasons, including clinical reasons such as advanced preeclampsia (when high blood pressures cause organ damage in the patient), heart and kidney complications, mental illness, cancer, and birth defects. These situations are risky to the lives of pregnant patients and can be devastating for those with wanted pregnancies. Ethical and necessary medical care includes abortion in these cases.
The six-week cut-off set in H.B. 481 is not based on sound medical judgment and is particularly dangerous. Many patients do not know they are pregnant within four weeks of conception (i.e. six weeks from the last menstrual period), especially if they are using contraception. Even for someone with a confirmed pregnancy within four weeks of conception, there are significant logistical barriers to receiving care in such a short period of time: wait times for OB/GYN appointments, difficulty getting time off from work, and transportation barriers.
Most importantly, we are concerned about the precedent this law sets for the provider-patient relationship. In this relationship, we respect a patient’s autonomy—their right to make decisions about their own health—which is a core ethical tenet of medicine. Patients trust providers for counsel on all evidence-based options to best manage their care. For pregnant patients, that includes the option to have an abortion. In every other context, healthcare providers present treatment options, but the patient ultimately decides to pursue or forgo treatment. Informed consent is at the center of healthcare. Pregnancy comes with serious risks—particularly in Georgia, which has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the U.S.—and patients deserve the right to decide if it is a risk worth taking.
Laws that restrict access to abortion only restrict access to safe abortions and ultimately may increase risk for infertility, hemorrhage, sepsis, and death for patients who cannot access necessary care. Despite restrictions, abortion rates are similar in countries with such restrictions as they are in countries where abortions are legal and performed by healthcare professionals. Worldwide, unsafe abortions are the third leading cause of maternal mortality and contribute to an estimated five million preventable disabilities. To prevent maternal morbidity and mortality associated with abortion, pregnant patients need access to safe, legal abortions.
We urge Georgia lawmakers to protect our patients' right to make their own healthcare decisions and to protect our ability to provide timely, safe, and vital reproductive care to our patients.
Members of Georgia’s Healthcare Community*
*This letter represents the collective experiences of over 500 health professionals and students caring for Georgians, and does not represent the official positions of any individual healthcare institution or system.