Stanford University medical leaders convened a panel of experts to address health care and health equity challenges raised by changes to abortion laws in many states.
The commission was formed in response to a June 24 US Supreme Court decision that overturned Roe v. Wade, which led to significant reductions in abortion access in many US states. Although California has laws protecting access to abortion, the ruling has raised concerns for many of the state’s medical providers.
The Stanford University Committee of Medicine on Access to Reproductive Health and Equity announced August 23 StanfordMed LIVE event.
“At Stanford Medicine, we recognize that reproductive care — including safe access to abortions — is essential health care,” he said. Lloyd’s MinorMD, dean of the College of Medicine, in his opening address to the event. “We are committed to enabling access to this care to the fullest extent permitted by California law and supporting scientifically backed health policies.”
Minor is one of three executive sponsors of the committee, along with David EntwistlePresident and CEO of Stanford Healthcare, and Paul King, President and CEO of Children’s Health at Stanford Medicine. At the event, leaders emphasized the medical center’s commitment to providing comprehensive reproductive health care, acknowledged the uncertainty caused by the changing legal landscape, and acknowledged the health care industry’s annual celebration of women’s health beginning September 1.
“I would like to pay tribute to Women in Medicine and the exceptional physicians at Stanford Health Care — including those who provide vital reproductive health services to patients in our community,” Entwistle said. “Restricting these services has severe and detrimental consequences for all health care.”
An important part of care
King noted that reproductive services are an important part of the care provided to women and families at Stanford Medicine’s Children’s Health Center. “While this situation is constantly evolving, David and Lloyd and I are committed to working with the committee to determine how our organization can support reproductive health in our community and beyond,” he said.
The committee is led by Yvonne MaldonadoMD, professor of pediatrics, epidemiology, and population health; Priya Singh, Chief Strategy Officer and Senior Associate Dean, Stanford Medicine; And the Leslie SubakMD, chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology.
“Like so many others, the loss of Roe against Wade left me deeply concerned, not only on a personal level but as a medical professional,” Maldonado, associate dean for faculty development and diversity, said during the event. “Removing basic abortion care puts women, people who could become pregnant, and everyone who depend on reproductive health services in harm’s way. This is especially true for our most vulnerable populations.”
Subak expressed concern about the loss of reproductive care for women and sexual and gender minorities. “This is a critical time to ensure that everyone has reproductive options,” Subak said. “Empowering people with the choice to have children enables them to do so much with their lives.”
The committee is tasked with assessing the needs and concerns of diverse stakeholder groups, including Stanford Medicine employees, who are affected by current legal decisions and soliciting input on what actions they should take in the short and long term.
The panel will determine how Stanford Medicine can:
- Support equitable, comprehensive, and evidence-based reproductive care that protects the safety of patients, faculty, interns, and staff throughout the organization;
- inform the development of programs and initiatives that meet the needs of all stakeholders affected by the Stanford Medicine mission, with a particular focus on supporting the most vulnerable;
- Determining the implications of legal decisions for our local, regional, national and global community, including access to care, research, and education programs; And the
- Identify opportunities to support research, training, and education in reproductive health, through her leadership of the biomedical revolution in micro-health.
The 25 panel members include Stanford University experts in many branches of medicine, nursing, diversity and equity, bioethics, law, government affairs, information technology, university and hospital administration, and employee relations.
The committee’s work will result in a set of recommendations that it will share with Minor, Entwistle and King. In addition, the panel will provide Stanford Medicine health care professionals with updated information about the effects of legal changes in reproductive health, as well as ongoing communication about the results of their work.