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No Time for Despair

June 26, 2022
by Mark David Siegel

“The majority’s refusal even to consider the life-altering consequences of reversing Roe and Casey is a stunning indictment of its decision.”

-Dissenting Opinion of Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Breyer upon the reversal of Roe v. Wade

“Despair is poison. It deadens people when the most important thing they can do is proceed with more drive and force and openness than they have before. Which is why the work ahead is insisting on hope, behaving as if there is reason for hope, even if you feel, based on the ample available evidence, that there is not.”

-Rebecca Traister, New York Magazine

Hi everyone:

Friday’s Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade showed disdain for women’s lives. It’s not just abortion that should concern us: we can’t count on today’s judges or lawmakers to combat gun violence, global warming, or threats to human rights.

As physicians, we’re obliged to know how legal decisions hurt patients, regardless of our personal beliefs.* Friday’s decision means women will lose control over their bodies. Black, brown, and low-income women will be affected disproportionately. Women impregnated by rape will have to carry the fetus of their attackers. Poor families will be pushed to raise children they can’t afford. Women with ectopic pregnancies will confront dangerous treatment delays. Those experiencing miscarriage will face allegations of murder. Patients with pulmonary hypertension or heart failure will be coerced into continuing their pregnancies, thus risking their lives. Physicians will be forced to choose between doing what is legally allowed and what is ethically right.

Our unjust society just became more unjust. In our country, unelected officials prioritize abstract principles over patients’ lives. They are willing to sacrifice school children to uphold the Second Amendment. They accept droughts, storms, and heat waves to satisfy oil and gas interests. And they stand ready to dismantle LGBTQ rights to gratify religious groups.

But we must not yield to despair. We must bear witness, speak out, and defend human rights. We must advocate everywhere: at the bedside, in the voting booth, in the press, and in state houses and courthouses. We have years of work ahead, but this is our mission. We must use our voices, our expertise, and our moral standing to fight for our patients.

Have a good Sunday, everyone. I’ll be driving to New Jersey to have dinner (and discuss politics) with my mom,


PS- For further reading:


*Program Director’s Notes reflect the personal views of the Program Director and are not meant to represent official policy of the residency program

Submitted by Mark David Siegel on June 26, 2022