Chief Communications Officer
American Medical Student Association
Chantilly, Va., May 29, 2019: This Friday, May 31, Missouri may become the first state in the nation to not have any health centers capable of providing abortion within its borders. As a result of administrative actions by Governor Parson and state agencies, the only clinic licensed to provide abortion care in the state is unfairly at risk of losing its license. If this were to occur on Friday, the state will have effectively created a state-wide ban on abortion through onerous regulatory burdens and harassment of clinic staff. Women in Missouri already frequently travel long distances to reach the state’s only clinic capable of providing abortion care. Forcing them to cross state lines to access safe, comprehensive reproductive care is not only an unreasonable burden but unethical.
As future doctors, we at AMSA are particularly alarmed by the intimidation, interrogation, and harassment of hard-working, qualified providers and physicians-in-training. Despite professional, legal care provided by qualified physicians and residents at the clinic, state agencies have continued to demand documentation and interviews from clinic staff. Seven doctors and resident physicians are at risk of losing their personal licenses and even imprisonment under the threat of interrogation and harassment from the state. When government officials intervene in the physician-provider relationship for ideological rather than science-based purposes, we all lose.
The magnitude of this public health crisis cannot be overstated. In the midst of an ongoing syphilis outbreak in the state and Missouri’s existing below-average maternal health outcomes, driving women out of the state to receive care will only exacerbate these trends. Punishing the state’s medical providers and trainees for providing safe, comprehensive reproductive care may hamper the state’s ability to recruit and retain qualified doctors in the future.
AMSA stands in solidarity with medical students, physicians, and women in Missouri. We forcefully condemn the weaponizing of the state’s regulatory system to attack doctors and physician-trainees. We support Planned Parenthood’s lawsuit to keep its clinic open past Friday and call on Governor Parson and state officials to stop this unwarranted attack on health care providers and their patients.
About the American Medical Student Association:
AMSA is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Founded in 1950, AMSA is a student-governed, non-profit organization committed to representing physicians-in-training, advocating for quality and affordable health care for all, and building the next generation of physician leaders. To join our community, visit amsa.org.