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ACLU Opposes "Ignorant Doctors" Amendment

Sarah Lipton-Lubet,
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
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May 26, 2011

Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted an amendment offered by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) which undermines medical education and threatens women’s health.

The Foxx amendment bars new medical training grants under the Public Health Service Act from being used for training in abortion care. This ideological prohibition runs counter to the standards set out by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), which provides that medical education training should include training in abortion procedures.

The Foxx amendment is yet another insidious attempt to undermine women’s ability to receive the full range of reproductive health services from trained physicians. Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) put it best when he said it’s “really not wise to have ignorant physicians.” Physicians need to know how to handle medical situations they may be confronted with. For example, a doctor faced with a patient who needs an emergency abortion to save her life needs to know how to administer necessary care.

It’s disappointing, but sadly not surprising, that once again the House majority put ideology ahead of women’s well-being and plain old common sense.

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