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Yale Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences Response to Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision

June 24, 2022

The Yale Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, & Reproductive Sciences has a long history of championing access to comprehensive reproductive health care. In 1965, a faculty member and chair of the Yale department, C. Lee Buxton, MD, was one of two named appellants in the landmark Griswold v. Connecticut US Supreme Court opinion. This decision, which came after a decade of advocacy work by Dr. Buxton, struck down a Connecticut state law prohibiting administration of contraception as it violated the constitutional right to marital privacy. The court affirmed that reproduction is a private decision, which should be free of government interference. Griswold v. Connecticut set a precedent that is credited with protecting reproductive rights and allowing the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.

The Yale Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences plans to continue the tradition of leadership in providing care consistent with reproductive health care rights. We will continue to build relationships with our patients based on trust, respect, privacy, and autonomy and to deliver evidence-based medical care. While respecting all beliefs, we plan to continue to offer the full spectrum of reproductive health care to our patients in Connecticut to the fullest extent permitted by law. We are deeply aware of the solemnity and privilege of pregnancy and birth. However, we are also aware of the hazards that pregnancy may pose to some individuals. Pregnancy can be one of the most dangerous events women and pregnant people experience as it can cause or exacerbate various medical conditions. As has been widely reported, maternal mortality and morbidity is rising to crisis levels throughout the United States, disproportionately affecting people of color and those of lower socioeconomic status. As physicians, we view access to contraception and to therapeutic abortion as an essential health care option.

Abortion is a safe medical procedure when performed or supervised by properly trained health care providers. We stand firm in our commitment to continuing to provide this medical care and at the same time we respect the rights of those clinicians whose ethical beliefs necessitate that they do not perform abortions. We are privileged to practice in Connecticut, whose legislature shares our conviction that abortion access is essential health care. Recently passed state bills have expanded access to abortion care, sought to protect providers who perform abortions, and expanded Medicaid coverage for women’s health care in the prenatal and postpartum periods. The Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, & Reproductive Sciences at Yale School of Medicine stands at the ready to continue to provide the full spectrum of reproductive health care in Connecticut.

We are committed to preserve the solemnity of the patient-provider relationship, to support reproductive health care, and to engage in continued dialogue surrounding the complex health care challenges facing women and pregnant people today.

Hugh S. Taylor, M.D.
Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences
Yale School of Medicine

Submitted by Liz Pantani on June 24, 2022