AMA: Supreme Court abortion ruling would interfere with doctor-patient relationship

Leaked opinion sparks response from supporters, opponents across nation.

A U.S. Supreme Court would interfere with the doctor-patient relationship by overturning the landmark Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion in 1973, according to the American Medical Association (AMA).

Members of the nation’s largest physicians organization are “deeply concerned by the contents and implications” of the draft opinion for the case known as Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which started in Mississippi, organization President Gerald E. Harmon, MD, said in a published statement.

“This opinion would lead to government interference in the patient-physician relationship, dangerous intrusion into the practice of medicine, and potentially criminalizing care,” Harmon said in a published statement.

AMA and more than two dozen medical organizations “believe abortion is safe medical care that is a decision to be made between the patient and the physician, subject to the physician's clinical judgment, and the patient's informed consent,” Harmon said.

"With deliberations underway, we strongly urge the Court to reject the premise of the draft opinion and affirm precedent that allows patients to receive the critical reproductive health care that they need,” Harmon said in the statement. “Allowing the lawmakers of Mississippi or any other state to substitute their own views for a physician’s expert medical judgment puts patients at risk and is antithetical to public health and sound medical practice.”

The Supreme Court heard the case on Dec. 1, 2021, and is considering the state of Mississippi’s appeal of a lower court ruling that struck down as unconstitutional the state’s law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, according to the Center for Reproductive Rights.

AMA and other physicians groups filed a brief in the case arguing against Mississippi’s abortion law.

The Supreme Court’s draft decision was published May 2 by news website Politico.

Since release of the draft opinion, abortion rights supporters and opponents have rallied in cities around the country, with health care workers, federal and state lawmakers and business leaders awaiting a final ruling expected in June.