Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP, National Partnership Call on States to Protect Patient-Provider Relationships and Proactively Respond to Political Interference in Women’s Health Care
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP, National Partnership Call on States to Protect Patient-Provider Relationships and Proactively Respond to Political Interference in Women’s Health Care

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Washington, D.C. — Today, a new brief released by the Center for American Progress and the National Partnership for Women & Families recommends states proactively respond to political interference in health care to protect both health care providers and patients, including women seeking abortion care. In the brief, CAP and the National Partnership also examine state efforts to preserve the patient-provider relationship and demonstrate how these efforts can serve as models for other states.

“Important health care decisions—including whether a woman wishes to obtain abortion care services—should remain in the examination room between the patient and provider, not dictated by politicians,” said Donna Barry, CAP Director of the Women’s Health and Rights Program and co-author of the brief. “Efforts to interfere with patients’ personal health care decisions expose patients to procedures and requirements that are often contrary to medical and scientific evidence and have no place in our laws.”

Health care providers and women seeking abortions have been increasingly subjected to legal requirements that make abortion care more difficult to obtain, including mandating biased and even inaccurate counseling; prohibiting the provision of medication abortion using modern technology; and requiring medically unnecessary delays in care, even though abortion is a time-sensitive procedure. In response, states and advocacy groups have partnered with the health care community to put forth proactive proposals to safeguard care and protect the patient-provider relationship.

“We need more legislation at the state level that tells politicians to exit the exam room so women can make their most personal health decisions with the people they trust,” said Andrea Friedman, Senior Policy Advisor for Reproductive Health Programs at the National Partnership and co-author of the brief. “It is critical that we keep medical judgment in the hands of health care providers who will put the needs of patients first. We urge more states to adopt the approach being used by legislators in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other states to help ensure that ideology does not interfere with evidence-based medical practices.”

Pennsylvania and Ohio offer two examples of state legislation designed to keep medical decisions in the hands of patients and trained health care providers. In Pennsylvania, lawmakers just reintroduced the Pennsylvania Patient Trust Act, which addresses political interference in all areas of health care, including—but not limited to—abortion care by ensuring that health care providers are not required by law to administer inaccurate or inappropriate care, nor prohibited from providing accurate, evidence-based, and medically appropriate care.

A second example of legislation, which was introduced in Ohio, takes a slightly different approach than Pennsylvania, focusing specifically on existing restrictions on abortion. The bill would allow health care providers to decline to follow certain abortion restrictions that are not based on evidence or that would require them to deliver care in ways that contradict their professional and ethical mandates.

Read the issue brief: Changing the Conversation on Abortion Restrictions: A Proactive Response to Political Interference in Health Care by Donna Barry, Andrea D. Friedman, and Sarah Lipton-Lubet

See the model Patient Trust Act and supporting materials: The Patient Trust Act: Model Legislation for Getting Politics Out of the Exam Room by the National Partnership for Women & Families

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Chelsea Kiene at [email protected] or 202.478.5328 or Lauren Sogor at [email protected] or 202.238.4823.


The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just, and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, access to quality health care, and policies that help women and men meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at