Thursday May 30th, 2019: APAMSA Response to Alabama Abortion Law

APAMSA opposes recent political efforts in several states to undermine women’s ability to access necessary health care.

On Wednesday May 16th, Alabama’s governor signed into law a near-total ban on abortions from the time of conception, without exceptions for rape or incest. The law also allows doctors to be charged with up to a 99-year sentence for performing abortions in the state, if the mother’s life is not endangered.

A number of “heartbeat” bills have also passed in Iowa, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Georgia, and there are efforts underway to pass such bills in Missouri, Louisiana, South Carolina, and West Virginia. These bills ban abortions after a fetal “heartbeat” can be detected, as early as six weeks into woman’s pregnancy. This is before many women are aware they are pregnant.

These laws pose a direct challenge to the standards established by the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade regarding pregnant women’s liberty to choose to have an abortion, and threaten to severely limit access to what the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recognizes as “an essential component of women’s health care” that should be discussed between patients and their health care providers “without undue interference by outside parties.” This recent wave of legislative actions by these states are clearly not just an infringement on a doctor’s ability to practice medicine but more importantly an encroachment on women’s Constitutionally protected reproductive rights.

For those who will be affected, please keep in mind that these bans have not taken effect yet. Specifically, the law in Alabama will not take effect for another six months. Additionally, the bill will likely be contested through the judicial system, so please get involved and make your voices heard through appropriate channels. Continue to stay informed on your local state laws and ensure that you have accurate information to help your patients navigate their healthcare. Our Advocacy Branch will post updates as more developments emerge and will list organizations working to combat the changes and/or to support patients.

We at APAMSA stand with healthcare providers in ensuring the best care for patients, and we stand with women in ensuring they have full access to medically indicated care.

In Solidarity,

Your APAMSA Leadership

The Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association (APAMSA) is a national organization of medical and pre-medical students committed to addressing the unique health challenges of Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) communities.