The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a national group of women’s health experts, has come out against the harsh abortion restrictions that Texas lawmakers are attempting to force through a second special session. In a new statement, the coalition of OB-GYNs warns that the Texas bills are “over-reaching” and “set a dangerous precedent” for medical care.
“The Texas bills set a dangerous precedent of a legislature telling doctors how to practice medicine and how to care for individual patients,” the group’s Executive Vice President, Dr. Hal C. Lawrence III, said in the statement. “ACOG opposes legislative interference, and strongly believes that decisions about medical care must be based on scientific evidence and made by licensed medical professionals, not the state or federal government.”
Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 2 — formerly known as SB 5 during Texas’ last special session — would criminalize abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and shut down the vast majority of the women’s health clinics in Texas. The proposed measures threaten to restrict access to all types of reproductive care, since many women currently receive contraceptive services and cancer screenings at the clinics that will be forced to close their doors.
ACOG’s Texas District Chair, Dr. Lisa M. Hollier, called the abortion-related proposals “a compilation of over-reaching measures” intended to police the circumstances under which women can receive reproductive care. “The bills are not based on sound science, despite our efforts to provide the legislature with the best available medical knowledge,” Hollier pointed out, warning that SB 1 and HB 2 will ultimately “erode women’s health.”
This isn’t the first time the nonpartisan OB-GYN group has taken a stand against restrictive abortion laws. Last month, ACOG issued a formal statement in opposition to the mounting pile of state-level restrictions that get in between a woman and her doctor, slamming anti-abortion laws for “imposing a political agenda on medical practice.” OB-GYNs have also repeatedly reiterated their support for expanding access to emergency contraception, and expressed bewilderment that providing young women with their full range of contraceptive options has become so politically contentious.
Texas voters agree with the ACOG’s assessment about the proposed legislation. A recent poll found the 80 percent of Texans want their lawmakers to stop focusing on abortion restrictions in their special sessions. After successfully staging a “people’s filibuster” to help block the abortion restrictions last week, over 5,000 activists flooded the state capitol again on Monday to continue opposing the bills.