Medical groups warn of ‘irreparable harm’ to patients in confusing post-roe era

The American Medical Association and three other major health groups warned on Thursday that patients across the country could face “irreparable harm” from the shattered legal landscape left behind after the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

In a statement, co-written with the American Pharmacists Association, the American Society of Health-Systems Pharmacists and the National Community Pharmacists Association, the groups said they were deeply concerned about state efforts to limit access to medically necessary drugs. . Ongoing questions about state laws are already affecting patients, and the language in newly enacted rules is “vague,” “unclear” and “disruptive care,” they said.

“Physicians, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals face a confusing legal landscape due to the ambiguity of state laws, confusing language and unknown implementation by regulatory and enforcement agencies,” the statement reads. “Without such guidance, we are deeply concerned that our patients will lose access to care and suffer irreparable harm.”

The groups pointed to reports that some hospitals have prioritized caution over health care, others have removed emergency contraceptives from kits for victims of sexual assault, and pharmacies have imposed “tricky” prescription steps.

The statement comes amid ongoing efforts by Republicans to curb Americans’ access to abortion.

In the two months since the conservative Supreme Court bloc voted to overthrow Roe v. Wade, more than a dozen states have banned or restricted abortion. About 17 million women in America have completely lost access to the procedure since the decision, and millions of others have limited access.

“These bans mean that if all of these millions of people need an abortion, they must overcome extreme logistical and financial barriers to access care,” Elizabeth Nash, a chief policy officer at the Guttmacher Institute, said in a statement. last year. month.

The GOP’s plans have excited Democratic voters and renewed support for the party on its way to the midterm elections. In Michigan, the state Supreme Court said a proposal to protect abortion rights in the constitution will be approved in November.

But the AMA and other groups said Thursday they were deeply concerned about patients’ health, pointing to reports that many women lack access to medications and decisions that exacerbate trauma for victims of sexual assault.

“As physicians and pharmacists, we consider patient well-being to be paramount and are deeply concerned that continuity of care will be disrupted,” they said. “We call on state policymakers to ensure through guidelines, laws or regulations that patient care is not disrupted and that physicians and pharmacists are free to continue to practice medicine and pharmacy without fear of professional sanctions or liability .”