• Supreme Court Decision Criminalizes Medical Care and Limits Access to Health Care 

    Statement attributable to:
    Sterling N. Ransone, Jr., MD, FAAFP
    President
    American Academy of Family Physicians 

    The American Academy of Family Physicians is disappointed and disheartened by the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down longstanding protections afforded by Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This decision negatively impacts our practices and our patients by undermining the patient-physician relationship and potentially criminalizing evidence-based medical care. Further, the decision to uphold Dobbs v. Mississippi will limit access to health care for patients across the United States.

    Patients must be able to depend on their physicians to help them make critical decisions about their personal health. Further, 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 threat of punishment, harassment or retribution. The Court’s decision prevents these basic tenets of health care.

    Allowing each state to pass their own laws regarding access to reproductive health care, including abortion services and contraception, exacerbates inequities in the health care system. These laws disproportionately affect those patients who are in underrepresented groups and underserved areas, which already puts them at increased risk of maternal death. Decreased availability of care and increased travel and associated expenses will make seeking health care challenging for many and prohibitive for some. 

    The AAFP will continue to advocate for everyone’s  right to health care  and to protect family physicians. This echoes our longstanding policies opposing any governmental interference in the confidential relationship between patient and physician, including those related to criminalizing medical care. 

    To that end, the AAFP strongly urges state legislators to protect patients and their physicians and to enact laws that protect access and strike down any laws that jeopardize care. Laws and mandates that restrict or create undue burdens in accessing health care services endanger patients and put those of us who provide medical care—or even offer evidence-based information—at great risk.

    Our patients, not policymakers, must make their own medical decisions. 

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    About American Academy of Family Physicians
    Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 127,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care. To learn more about the specialty of family medicine and the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, visit www.aafp.org. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s consumer website, www.familydoctor.org.