AMA 'deeply concerned' by Supreme Court draft opinion on abortion

The American Medical Association issued a statement saying the opinion could lead to government interference in the doctor-patient relationship. Other healthcare organizations have denounced the draft.

The American Medical Association says it is troubled by the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that sets the stage for overturning abortion rights.

Gerald Harmon, the AMA's president, issued a statement May 5 outlining his concerns about the opinion. While it is not a final opinion from the nation's highest court, the draft suggests that a majority of the justices will upend the Roe v. Wade ruling that has given women the constitutional right to an abortion for half a century.

Harmon said the AMA, the nation's largest society of physicians, opposes government interference in the interactions of doctors and patients.

"The American Medical Association is deeply concerned by the contents and implications of the draft Supreme Court opinion for the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women's Health Organization case that became public this week," Harmon said in the statement.

"This opinion would lead to government interference in the patient-physician relationship, dangerous intrusion into the practice of medicine, and potentially criminalizing care."

The AMA and two dozen other health organizations previously filed a brief with the Supreme Court urging the justices to uphold abortion rights.

"With deliberations underway, we strongly urge the Court to reject the premise of the draft opinion and affirm precedent that allows patients to receive the critical reproductive health care that they need," Harmon said.

"Allowing the lawmakers of Mississippi or any other state to substitute their own views for a physician’s expert medical judgment puts patients at risk and is antithetical to public health and sound medical practice.”

If the Supreme Court rules that there is no constitutional right to an abortion, it would be up to individual states to determine whether or not abortions would be permitted.

Some states have already implemented "trigger laws" that would outlaw any abortions once the high court overturns Roe v. Wade.

There are 23 states that have trigger laws or other legisaltion that would either prohibit abortions or severely limit access to abortions, The Washington Post reports.

Conversely, 16 states and Washington, D.C. have enacted laws protecting the right to abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a group that supports abortion rights. These are the 16 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

Other health organizations have denounced the Supreme Court's draft ruling.

National Nurses United, America's larges union representing nurses, called the draft ruling an “unconscionable threat to women’s health and security."

“Nurses will stand with women and gender justice supporters across this country to oppose political, legal, and employer restrictions on women’s health services, including the right to reproductive and other family planning services,” NNU President Jean Ross said in a statement.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists urged members to spread the word that the draft is not an official ruling by the Supreme Court and has no immediate effect on laws affecting abortion access. The group said it is gearing up for battles in state legislatures that will decide abortion access.

The organization also said it would be preparing resources so members can discuss abortion as a necessary component of healthcare and to counter "medical misinformation about abortion that can drive restrictive policies."

"Abortion is an essential part of comprehensive medical care," the group said.