Abortion is a Personal Health Service

  • Date: Jan 01 1973
  • Policy Number: 7304

Key Words: Abortion, Maternal And Child Health

Whereas the United States Supreme Court has legalized abortion in the United States by its decisions in Roe v. Wade, 93 S. Ct. 705 (1973) and Doe v. Bolton, 93 S. Ct. 739 (1973); and

Whereas the United States Supreme Court has set forth specific guidelines for abortion in its holding, as follows:

Until the end of the first trimester of pregnancy, a period in which the hazards of abortion are less than the hazards of childbirth, "the attending physician, in consultation with his patient, is free to determine, without regulation by the state, that in his judgment the patient's pregnancy should be terminated."

During the stage subsequent to the first trimester, the state may, if it chooses, "regulate the abortion procedure to the extent that the regulation reasonably relates to the preservation and protection of maternal health." The Court stated that examples of permissible state regulation are requirements as to the qualifications and licensure of the person who is to perform the abortion, the facility in which the procedure is to be performed (hospital, clinic, or place of less-than-hospital status), and the licensure of the facility.

For the stage subsequent to viability, the state may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe abortion "except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother."

And Whereas the American Public Health Association in its "Recommended Program Guide for Abortion Services," approved by the Executive Board of the American Public Health Association in May, 1973, has urged "full implementation of the

Supreme Court's action in every state in order to make abortion a matter of medical practice everywhere in the nation"; and

Whereas the American Public Health Association, in the aforesaid "Recommended Program Guide for Abortion Services," has further affirmed that abortion is a health service; and

Whereas the United States has emerged from a century of restrictive abortion legislation that was injurious to the health of women and violative of their basic constitutional right of privacy.

Be It Resolved:

That abortion is a personal service and should be made available in accordance with proper standards of health care and with regard for the rights of patients;

That as a regular part of medical practice, the performance of abortions should be subject to the same regulatory and administrative controls as other medical practices:

That, during the stage subsequent to the first trimester of pregnancy, if a state chooses to regulate abortion in ways reasonably related to preservation and protection of maternal health, as authorized by the United States Supreme Court, then regulation should be accomplished by existing administrative procedures without the enactment of new legislation.

That patients and health care providers should address every effort to full implementation of the decisions of the United States Supreme Court, in order to make safe, high-quality, and dignified abortion care available when needed, without financial barriers.

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