Dr Zoe Greaves, chair of the BMA medical ethics committee, said:
“The news that restrictions to abortions could be made law in some US states, as a consequence of Roe v Wade being overturned, is deeply worrying for the future of women’s reproductive health. The BMA, along with multiple other health organisations, is concerned that this will remove women’s access to essential medical care, a fundamental human right as stated by the UN, both in the US and potentially more widely.
“Banning or severely restricting abortion prevents only the safe termination of pregnancy – it does not prevent abortions. If women are denied necessary and appropriate care they will be forced to travel out of their home state to access services, something which is also being suggested will be made illegal. It could also drive abortion services underground and lead to an increase in self-administered abortions, placing the most vulnerable of women at greatest risk of harm. Restricting abortion will harm ‘rural, minority and poor patients’ the most according to leading health organisations in the US.1
"We will now be considering the implications of the Opinion in more detail and how we can best support our fellow national medical association – the American Medical Association (AMA) – in its opposition to the criminalisation of reproductive health.”2
Notes to editors
1. Joint amicus brief submission to the US Supreme Court, 21.09.2021, by American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Nursing, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of Public Health Physicians, et al
2. AMA bolsters opposition to wider criminalization of reproductive health
Along with healthcare organisations from around the world, the BMA is a co-signatory of today's International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) statement calling for all governments to defend access to safe and quality abortion care.
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.