Editorial: Ohio doctors call for action


A recent editorial by the Sandusky Register:

At least you know where they stand.

More than 1,000 Ohio doctors made it clear this week that they oppose government intrusion when it comes to women’s reproductive rights and the doctor-patient relationship. They signed onto a “Letter of Dissent” declaring their opposition to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Roe is the decision the High Court made in 1973 that granted women the Constitutional right to their own reproductive health, including abortion services. The decision by this court last month — that since the U.S. Constitution doesn’t include the word “abortion” it cannot be a right guaranteed — is obviously political.

The Ohio doctors who signed the letter of dissent see that, it seems clear. But they also are experiencing deeper concerns for what this political decision means for patients and their families, in general, and for women in particular. Their letter makes strong arguments and it is a demand for action to protect women’s rights.

“It has become painfully clear that women are now losing bodily autonomy, basic human rights and access to life-saving medical care,” the letter of dissent states.

The high court’s decision, according to the letter, removes a woman’s right to, and access to, legitimate medical care.

“We stand steadfast in our support for the sanctity and privacy of the patient-physician relationship. Withholding treatment until a preventable medical emergency occurs is antithetical to our roles as healthcare workers. A government that takes away the freedom of women to access critical medical care and threatens physicians with criminal penalties for upholding their oath is un-American.”

Women should not be required to answer to the government for the personal medical decisions they make in consultation with their doctors, the letter states.

“No explanation should be required for a choice that allows a woman to enjoy the same status in society as a man: freedom to preserve her health and wellbeing,” it states.

We are compelled to observe that these professionals — more than 1,000 as of Wednesday — are the frontline providers of medical services to women and to families. We are compelled to acknowledge their expertise on this topic is beyond ours, beyond yours and it is beyond the same arguments, pro and con, that we all have listened to for the last 50 years.

It also seems likely to us that this letter of dissent is not something generated by those same political, moral or religious positions on either side. Rather, the sentiments and the demands in it are something these men and women, as scientists, as practitioners, as medical professionals, were compelled to write about and support.

Their view, in our view, is compelling.

— Sandusky Register, July 9