Internists Concerned Proposed Ohio Legislation Would Harm Patients, Infringe on Patient-Physician Relationship

Washington, DC (December 4, 2019) —The American College of Physicians (ACP) fears that recent legislation introduced in the Ohio state legislature that orders physicians to re-implant ectopic pregnancies, which is clinically not possible, will threaten patient health and subject physicians to criminal prosecution for providing standard of care, reproductive health care services.

“Ectopic pregnancies can be life-threatening and traumatic for patients. Re-implanting an embryo into a woman’s uterus would be a medically impossible procedure and could harm the patient,” said Robert McLean, MD, MACP, president, ACP. “ACP stands behind its policy position that the patient-physician relationship, including access to reproductive health care services, should in no way be restricted by a government body.”

Additionally, the proposed bills would criminalize physicians for providing reproductive health services, going against ACP policy. In a 2018 position paper, “Women’s Health Policy in the United States,” ACP calls for women to have sufficient access to evidence-based family planning and sexual health information. This would include comprehensive reproductive health services, such as treatment for ectopic pregnancy. It also stresses the importance of respecting patient autonomy on matters affecting patients' individual health and reproductive decision-making rights, including about types of contraceptive methods they use and whether or not to continue a pregnancy as defined by existing constitutional law.

“As a physician, I am deeply concerned that the legislation introduced in Ohio may interfere with providing women with medically optimal care,” continued Dr. McLean. “ACP opposes government restrictions that would challenge a woman's right to continue or discontinue a pregnancy.”

“It seems unwise and dangerous to legislate for a theoretical, non-evidenced procedure that is not recommended by any medical society and could put our patients in harm’s way,” added Craig D. Nielsen, MD, FACP, governor, Ohio Chapter, ACP. “This is not a legislative road we should travel down.”

Protecting women’s health care is more important than ever—ACP rejects political interference in the patient-physician relationship and urges the Ohio state legislature, as well as national health care leaders, to embrace polices protect patients and their families, not legislation that threatens public health.

Contact: Julie Hirschhorn, (202) 261-4523,

About the American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 159,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.