The California Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP) strongly denounces SB 8, the Texas law which allows private individuals to sue abortion providers and anyone else who assists a person in obtaining an abortion. The CAFP recognizes that an individual has the right to make their own reproductive decisions. In order to improve the health of patients, families, and communities, everyone must have access to the full range of health care services. Abortion is an evidence-based health care service. Limiting abortion access will lead to unsafe abortions and unsafe pregnancies, which result in significant increases in maternal mortality.
“People should be able to access health care when they need it, where they need it, and in a compassionate and dignified environment. Health care professionals should be able to serve their communities by providing patients with the care they were trained to do, and without the threat or intimidation that SB 8 creates,” said CAFP President Dr. Shannon Connolly.
The CAFP represents family physicians with diverse individual perspectives, but we stand united in the belief that health care decisions should be made by patients in consultation with a trusted physician who is able to offer all information necessary to ensure informed consent. The CAFP strongly opposes any external interference in this process as it conflicts with the fundamental medical principle of patient autonomy and infringes upon the physician-patient relationship.
The CAFP strongly opposes the criminalization of physicians who provide the medical standard of care to their patients. “Physicians must be able to practice medicine that is informed by their medical education, training, and experience, freely and without threat of criminal punishment.” Said Dr. Connolly. “In essence, this law provides a financial incentive for any person to legally harass health care professionals. No physician or health care professional should ever have to choose between offering life-saving care to a patient and the law.”
CAFP supports and advocates for health equity. Restricting access to comprehensive reproductive health services--including abortion disproportionately decreases access to care for people of color, low-income individuals, rural residents, and other vulnerable populations.
Family medicine offers a unique perspective as a specialty committed to the care of individuals throughout their lives. Laws like Texas’ SB 8 reduce access to important health services, increase health inequity and threaten the foundation of the physician-patient relationship. The CAFP offers itself as a resource to provide expert information on reproductive health and the patient-physician relationship. We support Texans’ right to access abortion services and providers’ to be able to safely provide these important services without threat of intimidation or criminalization.