We, as future physicians of the United States and national leaders of medical student organizations representing over 60,000 members collectively, are deeply concerned about the Supreme Court’s ruling on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health. This ruling severely impacts the health and well-being of your constituents, the privacy and sanctity of the physician-patient relationship, physician safety, and the education of medical students and residents.
Abortion services are an essential component of reproductive health care rooted in an individuals’ right to bodily autonomy. It is not only a medical treatment for unwanted pregnancies but plays an integral role in the prevention of morbidity and mortality for people with uteruses. Abortions can prevent much of the physical or mental trauma in pregnancy, and is essential treatment for ectopic pregnancies, fatal fetal anomalies, and several other obstetric indications. Incomplete or missed spontaneous miscarriages are treated the same and may be similarly impacted by this ruling. Timely access to care for diagnosis and management of these conditions, without the fear of legal repercussions, is critical to the health of your constituents.
This ruling effectively forces many individuals to carry undesired pregnancies. Decentralized access to abortion in a country with one of the highest birther mortality rates among developed countries is especially harmful to Black/African American and low-income people, who account for the highest rates of abortions nationally. Rural communities, people of color, American Indian or Alaska Native individuals, Hispanic/Latinx and LGBTQIA+ people are also disproportionally impacted due to systemic failures in comprehensive sex education, lack of access to contraception, and unaffordable housing and childcare, among other social determinants of health. Due to state discrepancies restricting abortions, the potential for this inequity threatens to continue to widen.
We urge Congress to take immediate legislative action to:
- Codify the right to an abortion with legal protection for physicians and trainees practicing evidence-based medicine
- Exempt the Indian Health Service, Tribal, and Urban Indian health programs from the Hyde Amendment to uphold treaty-mandated health care rights
- Pass H.R.6005 – Access to Birth Control Act
- Provide protections for abortion education and training for medical students and residents
Without action, our communities, many of whom are already facing provider shortages, risk losing critical access to health care of all types. By passing these legislative items, Congress can make a real and personal positive impact on millions of Americans. These actions would allow us as providers to offer the highest levels of care our country deserves, protect the most vulnerable in our communities, and ensure equitable access to reproductive healthcare across the nation.
All of us chose the medical profession to help individuals. We aim to provide patients with dignified care that allows them to live out their best quality of life. For your constituents, your communities, your families and ours, we impress upon you the importance of protecting reproductive rights.
The Presidents of:
American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
Association of Native American Medical Students (ANAMS)
Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA)
Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA)
Medical Students for Choice (MSFC)
Medical Student Pride Alliance (MSPA)
Student National Medical Association (SNMA)
American Medical Women’s Association – Student Division (AMWA)
Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA)
*Contact person for this letter is Michael Walls, DO MPH, National President of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
This letter was signed by 1,833 medical students (89%) and healthcare workers (11%) from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico in support of this letter.