America’s Frontline Physicians Oppose the Administration’s Decision to Jeopardize Access to Women’s Preventive Care

For Immediate Release
November 8, 2018

In response to the release of the Trump administration’s final rules that will limit contraception access, the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physicians, and American Psychiatric Association, collectively representing more than 423,000 of America's frontline physicians, issued this statement:

“Our organizations, which represent more than 423,000 physicians and medical students, stand together in opposition to the Administration’s final rules, “Religious Exemptions and Accommodations for Coverage of Certain Preventive Services under the Affordable Care Act” and “Moral Exemptions and Accommodations for Coverage of Certain Preventive Services Under the Affordable Care Act.” By undercutting women’s access to contraception, a key preventive service, at no out-of-pocket cost in private insurance plans, the final rules conflict with our firmly held belief that no woman should lose the coverage she has today.

“Efforts to decrease access to contraceptive services will have damaging effects on public health. The ability to prevent or plan the timing of a pregnancy directly contributes to women’s overall health and personal achievements. We know that when women have unintended pregnancies, they are more likely to delay prenatal care, resulting in a greater risk of complications during and following pregnancy for both the woman and her child. The final rules reject these facts and the corresponding recommendations of the medical community, jeopardizing many women’s ability to maintain a vital component of their health care.

“No-copay coverage of contraception has an undeniable positive effect on the health of women and families everywhere, as well as the economic health of the nation by saving money for taxpayers and state and federal governments. In 2010, unintended pregnancies cost approximately $21 billion in government expenditures. Likewise, before the ACA, women were spending between 30 percent and 44 percent of their total out-of-pocket health costs just on birth control. After the ACA, women saved approximately $1.4 billion on out-of-pocket costs for contraception in one year.

“These rules create a dangerous new standard for employers to deny their employees coverage based on their own moral objections. This interferes in the personal health care decisions of our patients, and inappropriately inserts a patient’s employer into the patient-physician relationship. In addition, these rules open the door to moral exemptions for other essential physician-recommended preventive services, such as immunizations. We urge the Administration to immediately withdraw these rules and instead focus on policies to expand access to evidence-based health care for all Americans.”

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About the American Academy of Family Physicians
Founded in 1947, the American Academy of Family Physicians represents 131,400 physicians and medical students nationwide, and it is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five of the total medical office visits in the United States per year – more than any other specialty. Family physicians provide comprehensive, evidence-based, and cost-effective care dedicated to improving the health of patients, families and communities. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing and personal patient-physician relationship where the family physician serves as the hub of each patient’s integrated care team. More Americans depend on family physicians than on any other medical specialty.

To learn more about the AAFP and family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. Follow us on Twitter,(twitter.com) and like us on Facebook.(www.facebook.com) For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org.(familydoctor.org)

About the American Academy of Pediatrics
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org(www.aap.org) and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.(twitter.com)

About The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 58,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality health care for women, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care. www.acog.org(www.acog.org)

About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians(www.acponline.org) is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in over 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 152,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter(twitter.com) and Facebook.(www.facebook.com)(www.doctorsthatdo.org)

About the American Psychiatric Association
The American Psychiatric Association is the oldest medical association in the country founded in 1844. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,800 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information please visit www.psychiatry.org.(www.psychiatry.org)