By Ingrid Skop
From the first time I experienced the miracle of birth, I knew I had found my calling as an obstetrician and gynecologist. Thirty years and more than 5,000 deliveries later, it has been an honor and privilege to help bring new life into the world, while caring for mothers as they navigate pregnancy, delivery and the postpartum period.
I know most of my peers share a similar story. We take pride in the quality of care we provide in each case for both of our patients, and we strive to ensure that both mother and baby thrive.
Like approximately 90 percent of obstetricians, I do not perform elective abortions, yet I have always been willing to provide the care necessary to protect a mother’s life in an obstetric emergency. This is why I’m saddened to read stories of obstetricians left confused about how to help pregnant mothers in states with laws limiting elective abortions.
Media articles frequently report fears among physicians that they may be criminally prosecuted for providing standard obstetric care for miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies or other obstetric emergencies which place a mother’s life at risk. These physicians’ fears are rooted in a false narrative that is being peddled by abortion advocates and pro-abortion rights medical organizations and echoed by pundits in the media.
Their common goal is to turn the American public against laws that protect human life in the womb. It is as if they are willing to let women suffer from unnecessarily delayed medical care and use the resulting complications as an excuse to return us to the pre-Dobbs regime of abortion on demand for all nine months of pregnancy.
Here is the truth that all doctors and patients need to know: Not a single state law protecting unborn life prevents a physician from providing appropriate care for a pregnant woman facing a life-threatening complication or a heartbreaking pregnancy loss. Yet, as a result of the intentional confusion, some physicians have withheld indicated medical care based on these false, politically driven narratives, instead of reading the actual laws. In some cases, this has caused harm to women.
The truth surrounding these laws should be made clear by the organizations that are tasked with supporting physicians, but that hasn’t happened. Progressive medical organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), have exploited this confusion in pursuit of their ideological goal of unrestricted abortion.
Although ACOG’s members desperately seek clarification and clinical guidance to help them navigate the new laws, ACOG has refused to provide it.
In response to a pro-life op-ed in the Washington Post, Christopher Zahn, the interim chief executive for ACOG, and his co-author from the Society of Family Planning argued, “Abortion is safe. It improves and saves lives, and it must be available without restrictions, without limitations and without barriers — just as any other critical part of health care.”
Other ideologues are following ACOG’s lead. Recently, when North Carolina legislators reached out to Duke University obstetricians for help in explaining abortion exceptions to physicians in the trenches, they refused to help. Instead, they published an op-ed in the New England Journal of Medicine, bragging about their refusal to clear up the confusion so that patients could be properly treated.
Historically, ACOG provided valuable obstetric and gynecologic guidance, and advocated for issues directly affecting OB-GYNs, such as practice management and reimbursement issues. As a long-time member of ACOG, I have benefitted from this — particularly from their clinical guidance drawn from peer-reviewed literature.
But over the last few years, there has been a scary ideological shift in its priorities and recommendations. Today, the organization promotes women’s health care provided by mid-level practitioners instead of experienced obstetricians. It rejects women’s unique biology in support of transgender ideology. It opposes in-office gynecologic exams and counseling in favor of over-the-counter birth control. Most egregiously, it advocates for the destruction of babies in the womb throughout all nine months for any reason — a strong departure from what it used to advocate for just a few short years ago.
What has happened to my profession that was once focused on providing quality care for both mothers and unborn children?
Unfortunately, the abortion lobby has taken over ACOG, such that its primary goal seems to be defeating laws protecting unborn children, even if it means harming more women in the process.
I call on my fellow obstetricians and the medical organizations that should support us, to rise above politics and pro-abortion bias, in order to provide quality medical care to all of our patients — both the mothers and their unborn children.
It is our job to care for and protect both, and to keep our oath to do them no harm.
Editor’s note. Ingrid Skop, M.D., FACOG, is vice president and director of medical affairs for the Charlotte Lozier Institute. This appeared in The Hill.