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Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Anniversary Statement

June 27, 2023


On June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States issued the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision that overturned decades of constitutionally protected abortion access in the United States. This decision and subsequent changes in state laws have resulted in restricted rights to, access to, and provision of reproductive health care and abortion to the people served by obstetricians and gynecologists throughout the country. The decision has also led to regional variability in access and practice as well as created disparities in care and outcomes. 


The education and training of residents and fellows in Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB GYN) have been challenged by the variation in state laws restricting reproductive health care. Regardless of location, residency programs must meet accreditation standards, and residents must learn to provide essential competent care. In the last year, dedicated residents in states with legislative restrictions have been forced to travel to other cities and states to learn to provide competent reproductive health care and abortion. Fellows in Complex Family Planning, Gynecologic Oncology, Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility have faced challenges to learning advanced knowledge and skills in their subspecialties. 


The patient-physician relationship has been strained as patients and physicians struggle to access and deliver evidence-based care. Pregnant patients have been denied timely and vital care until they develop severe, life-threatening complications that would have been prevented by early interventions. Patients must trust that their physicians can and will provide critical health care without legislative interference in personal decision making. 


Through these obstacles and restrictions, board-certified OB GYNs have done all that is possible to provide care that patients request and need, and they have put patient care at the highest priority. Civil and legal penalties for providing evidence-based care are not a sustainable situation for patients, physicians, or medicine. 


The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG) offers voluntary certification to OB GYNs in this country and has done so since 1931. ABOG sets evidence-based standards for certification of OB GYN that include the following: 

  1. Knowledge, judgment, and skills in reproductive health care including abortion are essential to the practice of OB GYN. 
  2. Assessment of knowledge, judgment, and skills in reproductive health care including abortion are part of the OB GYN and subspecialty certification standards. 
  3. OB GYN residents seeking certification must complete at least 2 months of education and clinical experience in family planning that includes abortion care. 
  4. Fellows in Complex Family Planning, Maternal-Fetal Medicine, and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility programs must have advanced experience and competency in providing complicated reproductive health care that includes abortion. 
  5. ABOG offers subspecialty certification to qualified physicians and graduates of Complex Family Planning fellowship programs. Subspecialists should be able to display their certification and provide critical care without fear of loss of medical licenses, civil litigation, criminal prosecution, intimidation, retribution, fear of violence, or death threats. 
  6. ABOG will continue to use discretion when evaluating physicians for certification and continuing certification who may have criminal or civil action taken against them or have adverse actions taken on their medical license solely in response to providing evidence-based reproductive health care including abortions. 
  7. Spreading intentional misinformation and disinformation about family planning and abortion are a violation of professionalism, professional standing, and professional conduct standards for continuing certification in OB GYN. 
  8. ABOG standards do not force residents, fellows, or diplomates to perform abortions if they have religious, moral, or ethical objections. However, ABOG examinations will assess essential knowledge, judgement, and skills required to practice OB GYN as a board-certified ABOG diplomate.


ABOG joins that collective voice of our specialty, board-certified diplomates, and the people we serve to reiterate its commitment that comprehensive family planning including abortion are essential to the practice of OB GYN, the patients that place their trust in us, and public health of our country.