Internists Say Texas Law Violates Patient Autonomy and Egregiously Harms the Patient-Physician Relationship

Statement attributable to:
George M. Abraham, MD, FACP, FIDSA

President, American College of Physicians

WASHINGTON, D.C. September 1, 2021 –The Texas Heartbeat Act, which the Supreme Court allowed to go into effect today even as the law is being challenged in the lower courts, does grave harm to the ability of Texans to access needed health care services, denies women their right to make decisions about their own health, and fundamentally violates the relationship between a patient and their physician. It creates a precedent for other states to enact and seek to implement similarly harmful laws, as several have already done. The law immediately denies women in Texas their established constitutional right to abortion services and their autonomy to make decisions about their personal health, including reproductive health. It egregiously interferes with the patient-physician relationship, by creating an unacceptable and unprecedented ability for private citizens to take legal action against physicians who fulfill their obligations to their patients by counseling them on the full range of health care services available to them or providing necessary care to them.

With this law now having gone into effect in the state of Texas, great harm has been done to patient autonomy and the patient-physician relationship. ACP is committed to doing all that it can to reverse this, and other laws, that harm our patients.


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 161,000 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.

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