OB-GYNs Become Political Force in Abortion Wars

OB-GYNs have become a new political force as Republican lawmakers are rushing to pass new abortion restrictions. 

The physicians have never mobilized politically before. They are now banding together in the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, lobbying state lawmakers, testifying before committees, forming PACs, and launching online campaigns against proposed abortion restrictions.

Legislators who are also physicians are using their medical backgrounds to persuade colleagues to scale back their more restrictive and punitive laws. 

In Nebraska, OB-GYNs successfully scuttled attempts to pass abortion restrictions in a summer special system. The Republican-controlled legislature has now delayed the issue until early next year.

Doctors have secured smaller wins in West Virginia and Indiana as well. They stripped provisions out of bills that would have imposed harsher criminal penalties on physicians and patients and ensured exemptions for cases of rape, incest, and threats to the health of the pregnant person.

The early successes that these doctors are having inside some of the most conservative states in the nation show the power they hope to wield in the upcoming months. Doctors are banding together as well to raise money for abortion-rights candidates in the midterms and lobbying lawmakers in state capitals when new sessions convene next year. 

OB-GYNs are also at the forefront of legal battles over abortion access. In Michigan, doctors took the witness stand. In Idaho and Texas, they submitted briefs to courts about how restrictions could harm their patients.

Lawmakers are continuing to debate how much to restrict abortions, and in those states, doctors are becoming increasingly vocal. In South Carolina, the House is poised to this month take up a bill banning abortion in all cases except to prevent death or serious body impairment. They argue these laws will have devastating consequences, drive physicians out of the state, worsen existing OB-GYN shortages and strain the medical system.

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