September 11, 2023
Meeting attendees, from left: Dr. Tom Tracy, Dr. Francois Luks, Katie Keith, Lina Volin, Dr. Henri Ford, Dr. Holly Hendricks, and Dr. Yinka Olotuye. Not pictured: Drs. Patrick Bailey and Tippi McKenzie.
In the wake of the US Supreme Court’s Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision (“Dobbs”) in 2022, health professionals have been discussing how subsequent legislation from various states affects medical decision-making and treatment for fetal and maternal health.
To inform policymakers of the implications of current and proposed law, in August pediatric surgeons and fetal specialists representing the ACS and the American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA) met with two White House health policy advisors to discuss how the Dobbs decision is affecting the safety and autonomy of mothers.
The meeting came out of conversations at the APSA meeting in May about the impact of Dobbs on pediatric surgeons who specialize in fetal intervention. Prior to that meeting, White House representatives expressed an interest in talking with surgeons to become educated on the state of the art in fetal interventions.
ACS President-Elect Henri R. Ford, MD, MHA, FACS, Patrick V. Bailey, MD, MLS, JD, FACS, ACS Medical Director of Advocacy, and other pediatric surgeons participated in a meeting on August 8 with Katie Keith, Senior Advisor, and Lina Volin, Chief of Staff and Advisor to the White House Gender Policy Council.
The group communicated how restrictive laws regarding reproductive health affect pregnant women and their fetuses. They noted:
Those in attendance engaged in a robust conversation and were able to provide background on both the impact Dobbs has had on their practices and the uncertainty Dobbs has created when providing prenatal counseling.
It is anticipated that further input will be sought after Keith and Volin determine how these important considerations fit into their broader policy agenda.
In addition to Drs. Ford and Bailey, pediatric surgeon attendees included:
Tippi Mackenzie, MD, FACS, John G. Bowes Distinguished Professor in Stem Cell and Tissue Biology and professor of surgery at the University of California, San Francisco, also participated in the discussions the group undertook prior to the meeting.