The AMA v. Dobbs. Part 1. – The Health Care Blog



Should anyone present know of any reason that this couple mustn’t be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or perpetually hold your peace.”     Book of Common Prayer, Church of England, 1549

Last evening Trump rose from the ashes and declared it was time to “Make America Great and Glorious Again” (MAGAGA).

This past week, five days after the Midterm elections, AMA President, Jack Resnick, Jr., MD, raised his voice from the rostrum on the AMA Interim Meeting in Hawaii with the AMA’s own version of a call to motion:

But make no mistake, when politicians insert themselves in our exam rooms to interfere with the patient-physician relationship, after they politicize deeply personal health decisions, or criminalize evidence-based care, we is not going to back down…I never imagined colleagues would find themselves tracking down hospital attorneys before performing urgent abortions, when minutes count … asking if a 30% probability of maternal death, or impending renal failure, meet the standards for the states exemptions … or whether they need to wait some time longer, until their pregnant patient gets even sicker…Enough is enough. We cannot allow physicians or our patients to grow to be pawns in these lies.”

Over a yr ago, they’d signaled awareness that attacks on Roe v. Wade might fundamentally challenge patient autonomy and the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship. On September 21, 2021, the AMA with 25 other medical organizations filed an amicus transient in opposition to the restrictive Mississippi abortion law, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.  And on  October 12, 2021, 19 medical societies, with the AMA within the lead, filed  an amicus transient in U.S. v. Texas, the abortion vigilante law signed by Gov. Greg Abbott.

Over the past yr, the AMA had ample warning that the situation was spinning uncontrolled. On June 27, 2022, I wrote: “My concern today, despite the strong messaging from Chicago, is that the AMA and its membership haven’t fully absorbed that this can be a ‘mission-critical’ moment within the organization’s history… The strong words, without actions to back them up will permanently seal the AMA’s fate, and challenge Medicine’s status as a ‘occupation.’”

I used to be reacting to the AMA’s statement three days earlier, on release of the Dobbs decision, which labeled the choice “an egregious allowance of presidency intrusion into the medical examination room, a direct attack on the practice of drugs and the patient-physician relationship…the AMA condemns the high court’s interpretation on this case. We’ll at all times have physicians’ backs and defend the practice of drugs, we’ll fight to guard the patient-physician relationship.”

On the time, I really helpful that the AMA mobilize and orchestrate their Federation state and specialty societies to pursue acts of “physician ‘civil disobedience’ where appropriate to guard the health and well being of all women, no matter age, race, sexual identity, religion, or economic status.”

This warning got here six months after I highlighted Charles Dickens words in a “Tale of Two Cities” – “It was the most effective of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, …” – as a strategy to dramatize that we too are a “tale of two cities”  as this map of the US, color coded for regressive laws and tactics to disenfranchise women and youngsters, people of color, the poor and the vulnerable, well illustrates.

On November 8, 2022, the AMA site posted a piece titled “Advocacy in motion: Protecting reproductive health.” But a constructive critic can be justified in suggesting that the plan is tall on “advocacy”, but short on “motion.”

What does “motion” appear to be? In Part 2 of this piece, I’ll provide examples from Michigan, Kansas, Kentucky, and Washington.


Mike Magee MD is a Medical Historian and creator of “CODE BLUE: Contained in the Medical Industrial Complex.”

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