RELEASE: Political Interference in the Patient-Provider Relationship Threatens Women’s Health

Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress released a new issue brief looking at the various ways politicians at the federal and state levels are interfering with doctors’ ability to give patients quality, medically accurate reproductive health care, including abortion care. As the brief outlines, the patient-provider relationship is especially critical for people of color, LGBT people, and young people, for whom confidentiality, informed consent, and nondiscrimination protections are vital for continuation of care and safety. The brief also highlights ways Congress and states are moving forward to protect women’s health.

“It’s wrong for politicians to insert themselves into the patient-provider relationship and dictate when, where, and how doctors can interact with their patients,” said Osub Ahmed, policy analyst for women’s health and rights at the Center for American Progress. “The decisions made between patients and providers are personal and should be rooted in science, not ideology.”

The brief finds that dozens of states force providers to convey inaccurate information about the risks of abortion, such as falsely alleging that there is increased risk of breast cancer or infertility after obtaining an abortion or that life begins at conception. This counsel is medically inaccurate and has been debunked by the mainstream medical community. Furthermore, gestational bans are making it harder for women to access abortion care at many points in pregnancy.

The brief comes the same week that the Trump administration announced that it would immediately move forward with implementing changes to Title X, the federal family planning program, despite ongoing litigation challenging their legality in the courts. The changes to Title X will prohibit providers from offering patients the full array of health care options, including abortion care, referrals, and counseling. Providers will also be forced to involve parents or guardians in young people’s family planning care. These changes build on decades’ worth of discrimination against predominantly low-income women and women of color under the Hyde Amendment, which bars Medicaid from covering abortion care.

The brief outlines what Congress and states are considering to protect women’s health, including:

  • The U.S. House of Representatives recently reintroduced the Women’s Health Protection Act, which would overturn extreme abortion bans and other limits on women’s access to abortion care, including waiting periods, ultrasounds, and targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws.
  • Ohio and Pennsylvania recently debated bills that would prohibit providers from being forced to disseminate medically inaccurate information to their patients or perform medically unnecessary services.
  • Massachusetts passed a new law that ensures that a patient’s sensitive health information is not shared with the named policyholder through explanation of benefits or summary of payment forms.
  • Washington state lawmakers introduced legislation that would ensure that providers are not prohibited from offering medically accurate and comprehensive information and services to their patient against their better judgement.

Please click here to read “Politicians’ Efforts to Undermine Providers Are Imperiling Women’s Health” by Osub Ahmed.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202-741-6292.