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Internists Concerned Recent Legislation Interferes with the Patient-Physician Relationship, Infringes on Patient Autonomy

Statement attributable to:
Robert McLean, MD, FACP
President, American College of Physicians

Washington, DC (May 15, 2019) —The American College of Physicians (ACP) is deeply concerned that policies introduced by state legislatures in recent weeks, including Alabama and Georgia, will significantly infringe on the patient-physician relationship and patient autonomy. ACP firmly rejects any legislation that creates barriers to care and threatens access to health care services for women and their families.

In our 2018 position paper, “Women’s Health Policy in the United States,” ACP calls for respect for the principle of patient autonomy, particularly on matters impacting women’s health and reproductive decision making rights. While ACP recognizes and is respectful of different views that individuals, including physicians and patients, have on these issues, ACP believes that a woman has the right to make health care decisions about matters that affect her personal, individual health. ACP also supports the current legal framework and a woman’s constitutional right to privacy in medical decision making as upheld by the Supreme Court. However, ACP fears that the recent pieces of legislation introduced may interfere with these important tenets of health care.

ACP stands behind its commitment to advocate for access to quality and affordable health care services for all Americans. Access to preventive health care services should in no way be restricted by a government body. ACP urges state legislatures, as well as national health care leaders, to embrace polices that ensure patients and their families have access to preventive and reproductive health care services.

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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 154,000 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.

Contact: Julie Hirschhorn, (202) 261-4523, jhirschhorn@acponline.org