Since early July, several excellent, respected doctors—our colleagues in reproductive health care—have been the subject of a ruthless and dishonest public campaign devised to discredit their work as compassionate providers of reproductive health care.
They were deceptively approached by a radical undercover anti-choice group whom they believed was working to help women donate fetal tissue to support lifesaving research. As physicians, their intentions were altruistic and caring. The same cannot be said for their attackers. Since these videos have been released, Planned Parenthood and other abortion care providers across the country have faced relentless attacks, both political and criminal. Some clinics have been targets of harassment and individual doctors and their families have received violent threats. Our society must not tolerate this domestic terrorism.
The sting videos, hacks, threats, and harassment of women and abortion providers must stop. When politicians and pundits champion the dishonest and fraudulent work of the so-called Center for Medical Progress, they tacitly endorse threats against physicians, nurses, and clinic staff. It is no coincidence that we’ve seen simultaneous, coordinated harassment in the weeks since the release of these videos. This extremism stigmatizes our friends and colleagues, further politicizes women’s health, and promotes dangerous behavior.
We stand in solidarity with all the providers and clinicians who have been unfairly and inappropriately depicted in a smear campaign intent on destroying their integrity. These are our friends, and they have dedicated their professional and personal lives to ensuring access to safe, legal, and compassionate care for anyone who needs it.
Every day, doctors who provide abortion care face attacks from anti-choice zealots who will do anything to achieve their goal: Stop access to legal, safe abortion. These actions are unacceptable and we stand with these doctors, no matter what.
In partnership with the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, the Roger Baldwin Foundation of the American Civil Liberties Union, Inc., the Great Lakes Regional Chapter of the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine, and local physician experts who are part of our Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health Education Program, we have updated this important resource to reflect current state law and statutes and organized the information so that it will be easily understood by clinic staff and medical professionals who work with teen populations.
This updated Minors’ Access Card clarifies Illinois state laws around confidentiality and parental notification and provides guidelines for clear communication between physicians and their patients, all of which are essential when providing services to adolescents on critical reproductive and sexual health topics.
Physicians for Reproductive Health is very thankful for the expertise of our colleagues above, and for the time and work they put into this. We encourage you to utilize all of our organizations as resources in the future and look forward to continued collaboration around improving access to and quality of care for teenagers in Illinois.
We are saddened to hear of the passing of founding Physicians member and friend, Dr. Howard Jones, at 104. A pioneer in medicine, Dr. Jones’ medical career and contributions to reproductive health care could not have been more varied, influential, or robust. Even late in life, he was a profound reproductive right advocate. Even past the age of 100, Dr. Jones was still publishing books and scholarly works. At 100, he submitted testimony on Physicians’ behalf in opposition to TRAP laws in Virginia. Dr. Jones wrote:
I remember the days before abortion was legal. I saw many patients who had self-induced abortions because at that time there was no legal way to end a pregnancy. I saw women who had become infected and had to be admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital, where I worked. These patients were often extremely ill and some of them died….This will happen again if legal abortion is not readily available to those who seek it.
Dr. Jones’ contributions to reproductive medicine are incomparable, and we feel privileged to have known him.
As you know, on Monday the Senate blocked an effort to bar Planned Parenthood’s participation in federal health programs like Medicaid. Had the vote been successful, it would have paved the way to eliminating affordable health care for the 2.7 million people who rely on Planned Parenthood annually.