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NEJM Editors Publish Opinion Following Dobbs v Jackson Decision


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On June 24, the editors of The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published an editorial online in response to the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) decision in the case of Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The Court held in a vote of 5 to 4 that the Constitution of the United States does not confer any right to abortion and overruled both Roe v Wade and Planned Parenthood v Casey. This decision thereby removes federal protection for a woman’s right to abortion care and leaves such decisions in the hands of individual states.

Further, over the past week several oncology societies, including ASCO, and other medical groups have issued statements on the SCOTUS decision.

Excerpts from the NEJM editorial are reprinted below with permission of The New England Journal of Medicine (Copyright 2022. Massachusetts Medical Society, Boston).

NEJM Excerpts

“Experience around the world has demonstrated that restricting access to legal abortion care does not substantially reduce the number of procedures, but it dramatically reduces the number of safe procedures, resulting in increased morbidity and mortality.”

“The fig-leaf justification behind these restrictions was that induced abortion was a dangerous procedure that required tighter regulation to protect the health of persons seeking that care. Facts belie this disingenuous rhetoric. The latest available U.S. data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Health Statistics are that maternal mortality due to legal induced abortion is 0.41 per 100,000 procedures, as compared with the overall maternal mortality rate of 23.8 per 100,000 live births.”

“Without federal protection, recent state laws curtailing or eliminating the right to abortion care will deny Americans’ reproductive autonomy….”

“At a time when dozens of other countries around the world are codifying protections for reproductive decision making for their citizens, we are turning the clock backward to take these rights away from our citizens.”

“[T]he most privileged members of U.S. society will always be able to work around restrictive laws and find abortion care in jurisdictions that permit it. Currently proposed changes in our laws will be most burdensome and unfair to the low-income persons and persons of color…. These changes will inevitably exacerbate our already vast disparities in wealth and health.”

“[T]he editors of The New England Journal of Medicine strongly condemn the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.”

To view the complete editorial, visit NEJM.org.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.
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