When to become a parent, how one becomes a parent, and what pregnancy decisions each person makes are incredibly complicated personal choices. For individuals with complex medical or family histories, these decisions often require partnering with clinicians to achieve the best outcomes. Even when a pregnancy is planned and wanted, there are times when abortion procedures must be performed to save a life.
At Tufts Medicine, we are dedicated to achieving the best health for all. While we understand that abortion is an emotionally charged issue with passionate, thoughtful people on both sides, and many different diverse views and perspectives, we have a responsibility to do everything possible to keep our patients safe. Therefore, we stand with our colleagues across the country who work daily to help individuals with reproductive decisions. As the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists and the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine advocate, decisions about when to continue and when to end a pregnancy are medical decisions and must be individualized in consultation with clinicians.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court’s intention to reverse prior case law (Roe v. Wade) was leaked. If this shift occurs, decisions about whether to restrict or allow abortions will return to the states. While access to abortion is protected in Massachusetts, many states, including some of our neighbors, do not have similar safeties. This change will have drastic effects on equitable care and family health across the country.
Both at our tertiary care and our community facilities, we see daily how access to health care can reduce disparities. If reproductive laws differ from state to state, we will see a widening of maternal mortality and health inequities across the country. Patients with resources may travel out-of-state to receive evidence-based care, while the uninsured and under-insured generally receive whatever care is available locally. As fewer providers receive the training needed to perform surgical abortions, there will be health deserts in which there are no clinicians who can end a pregnancy quickly in the setting of life-threatening bleeding, infection, or stillbirth. This can directly lead to higher rates and more disparate maternal morbidity and mortality statistics across the United States.
At Tufts Medicine, we are inspired each day by our work in caring for patients, assisting families, supporting our staff and elevating the communities we are a part of. We will never waiver in that commitment to put patient care above all else. We will continue to work tirelessly to support our patients before, during, and after pregnancy. We also stand ready to help those across the country who seek to provide equitable, evidence-based care. We hope for a day soon when all people have the local protections to medical care that every person deserves.