As members of the Resident and Fellow Physician Union – Northwest (RFPU-NW), as doctors who took the Hippocratic oath to “do no harm,” and as some of the 1 in 4 women who will have an abortion by age 45, we firmly believe that abortions are not only standard of care, but they are necessary and life-saving. Abortion rights are human rights. We stand with all those for who the recent news of the Supreme Court’s likely plan to restrict abortion rights causes pain, fear, and the possibility of major health complications. We stand with our fellow physicians who continue to provide critical reproductive care despite ongoing attacks and villainization. We stand with those, including our members, who have needed abortion care and whose healthcare continues to be unnecessarily scrutinized and debated.
As physicians, our top priority is the health and safety of our patients. Overturning Roe v. Wade would not only threaten the health of people in states with abortion bans but would generate a ripple effect as individuals travel to other states, such as Washington, in order to obtain access to abortion. As physicians, it would negatively affect our ability to provide timely and appropriate medical care for people who are pregnant or may become pregnant. The dramatic restriction of reproductive care that would occur if the Supreme Court moves forward with this decision would severely impact training of physicians across the country in critical procedures.
Banning abortion does not eliminate abortions, it limits safe abortions. Physicians who practiced medicine before Roe v. Wade share horror stories of uterine perforations, hemorrhages, sepsis, and death; of children left orphaned, of family members burying their loved ones. With all the advances of modern medicine, we would truly be moving significantly backwards as a country if we returned to those dark ages.States with more abortion restrictions are shown to have higher rates of maternal and infant mortality. Pregnancy and childbirth are inherently dangerous, and no one should be forced to risk their lives and the wellbeing of their families without their consent. It is important to note that abortion bans disproportionately affect the working class and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color the most. For so many individuals, abortion is life-saving care. Given the rising maternal mortality in the United States and the devastating inequities in outcomes for pregnant people and infants, in the treatment of parents and children by child regulatory services, and in the provision of fertility services, we recognize that reproductive rights and reproductive justice must extend beyond legally protected abortion service to include the healthcare and resources necessary for everyone to exercise reproductive autonomy.
We may belong to many different specialties, but we all care for patients whose lives would be affected by abortion access. As healthcare workers, it is our duty to be vocal and active in this attack on healthcare access, and we encourage our colleagues across the country to protest. Listen to your healthcare workers: Roe v. Wade should not be overturned.
The 1,400 resident and fellow physicians of the RFPU-NW