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OB-GYNs: Dobbs decision an attack on our patients | READER COMMENTARY

David Friedheim of Gwynn Oak with a sign for abortion rights outside United States Courthouse in downtown Baltimore on the day that the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed state's rights to ban abortion Friday., June 24, 2022. (Karl Merton Ferron/Baltimore Sun)

The Maryland Section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, representing obstetrician-gynecologists across our state, condemns the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which represents a direct attack on the patient-physician relationship and the practice of medicine (”Abortion is my birthright,” June 29).

The decision in Dobbs upends the public health infrastructure in our country and the values we as health care professionals and women’s health care providers hold dear. By putting physicians in fear of retribution for providing evidence-based, appropriate, lifesaving care and denying patients the ability to turn to their trusted physicians for care, this decision fundamentally, irreparably and devastatingly compromises the patient-physician relationship.


Patients will lose the ability to make decisions about their health, their families and their futures. Physicians and practices will be challenged by an influx of patients forced to delay care to travel hundreds of miles away from their communities. The consequences of this decision will be sweeping, not only by opening the floodgates to widespread bans on abortion but also for what it represents — a frightening era for health care professionals who must fear criminal, professional and civil penalties for providing evidence based, appropriate care. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision will have devastating ripple effects, and this legislative interference will not stop with abortion. Its chilling effect will impede miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy management, threaten infertility treatments and fuel efforts to target other essential care including contraception and gender affirming care.

Pregnancy can be a high-risk time in a person’s life, particularly for those with medically complex conditions, and this decision will take us backward. While Maryland is fortunate to have protective legislation in place from years of legislative efforts, we are not immune to the effects this will have on neighboring, nearby or even remote states, nor future legislative attempts to threaten maternal health in our state.


The harm of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision will be experienced most acutely on the communities that are already systematically marginalized, exacerbating unacceptable inequities in our health care system. The Maryland Section of ACOG is committed to mitigating the fallout of this decision. We will continue to serve our patients as we have, while accommodating patients seeking care from outside our borders to the best of our ability and capacity. We will continue to advocate for our patients, our colleagues and our profession in the face of further unfounded and dangerous legislative interference. We will continue to protect and expand access to care in our state and support our colleagues whose hands this decision has tied.

— Drs. Clark Johnson and Betty Chou, Baltimore

The writers are, respectively, legislative chair and Maryland chair of the Maryland section of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

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