Central to the goal of achieving equity in healthcare is access to both services and information on medical options. With the recent events surrounding Texas law SB8, these foundational principles of equity are threatened for pregnant people considering abortions, with a disproportionate health impact on marginalized people of color, people of limited means, and other vulnerable populations who already are the most burdened. Importantly, these developments may also pave the way for wider restrictions on pregnancy termination and reproductive care throughout the country, making it a critical issue of social justice.
As geneticists, we recognize that reproductive care is healthcare and that pregnant peoples’ rights are human rights. As educators, it is our mission to train the next generation of providers, and these providers must be free to provide patient-centered healthcare of the highest quality that best suits the patient and their needs. Patient-centered care has long been a principle of genetics consultation, and in this climate, it is especially important that our classrooms and clinics serve to inform trainees about the ways in which the timing and approach to genetic services impact the ability of pregnant people to make informed decisions that best align with their personal situations. Notably, the vast majority of our trainees have never lived in an America without the protections of Roe v. Wade, thus it is the responsibility of those of us with perspective on the numerous harms that can result from the erosions of reproductive freedom to initiate these conversations with our trainees.
We have compiled a list of resources that can provide some tools to learn and teach about patient-centered care, intersectionality and its intensification of healthcare disparities, and a role for providers in patient advocacy. We hope these resources will help you get started on this critical call to action. Most importantly, we remain committed to working and learning together, and we welcome your thoughts and additional suggestions.
Yours in Solidarity,
Shoumita Dasgupta, PhD, President
Katherine M. Hyland, PhD, President-Elect
Cynthia M. Powell, MD, Past-President
Steve Moore, PhD, Secretary/Treasurer
Deborah Barbouth, MD, Council Member
Kathryn Garber, PhD, Council Member
Anna C.E. Hurst, MD, MS, Council Member