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IPHAM Supports Policy Action to Preserve and Protect Women’s Reproductive Health

June 24, 2022

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Today the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) announced their decision to reverse the 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade, which had protected a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion. As a result of today’s ruling, about half of states are expected to move immediately to limit women’s access to safe and effective family planning services.Access to family planning services is an essential component of public health. Removing access to these services will significantly impact maternal health outcomes and increase maternal deaths in the United States. Importantly, the impact of today’s Supreme Court decision will fall unequally on minority and lower income populations. This will exacerbate further the existing disparities and racial inequities in maternal health outcomes. Women from underserved and lower income communities are less likely to receive reproductive health services, more likely to experience maternal health complications, and experience higher maternal death rates. Prioritizing equal access to family planning services has been essential to public health efforts for more than 50 years. I would like to point you toward "Abortion bans and implications for physician-patient trust" by Tara Lagu, MD, MPH, and colleagues published in the Journal of Hospital Medicine. Dr. Lagu is the director of IPHAM's Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research (CHSOR). Today’s ruling is a profound setback to public health, because it is an immediate threat to health and health equity for women. Policies that lead to profound health inequities such as this are simply unjust and inconsistent with the principles of public and population health that guide our work.

The Northwestern University Institute for Public Health and Medicine stands by all women, whose rights and health have been seriously threatened by today’s ruling. We support immediate further policy action to preserve and protect women’s reproductive health.

Sincerely,

Ronald T. Ackermann, MD, MPH
James Roscoe Miller Professor of Medicine
Professor of General Internal Medicine, Endocrinology, & Medical Social Sciences
Senior Associate Dean for Public Health
Director, Institute for Public Health and Medicine
Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University

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