Last week’s United States Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and eliminate federal protection for abortion is a major shift in health care.
Of APTA's numerous policies and positions, none of them refer to abortion, and physical therapists and physical therapist assistants don't perform or directly assist in the procedure. Yet our profession is part of the health care system, and we are providers of prenatal and postpartum care. APTA also advocates on issues related to pelvic health in physical therapy, including the recently introduced H.R. 8181.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Nursing, and American Academy of Pediatrics, among others, recognize that "reproductive health care is essential to women’s overall health" and "access to abortion is an important component of reproductive health care."
As a result of this decision, many physicians will be limited in their ability to provide established, evidence-based medicine, and pregnant women now face greater risk to their personal health at a time when maternal mortality rates are increasing, particularly among women from racial and ethnic minorities.
APTA's Code of Ethics calls on physical therapists to "act in the best interests of patients and clients" and to "collaborate with patients and clients to empower them in decisions about their health care."
Our commitment to person-centered services establishes that APTA "opposes efforts by government, institutions, and other entities that may threaten person‐centeredness in the provision of physical therapist services."
As stated by the APTA Academy of Pelvic Health Physical Therapy, pelvic health decisions should be made between patients and their medical providers.
– APTA President Roger Herr, PT, MPA