- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Pro-life obstetrician-gynecologists are increasingly getting the stiff-arm from the field’s leading professional associations.

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists was abruptly barred from hosting an exhibit booth at this week’s meeting of leading OBGYN education groups held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland.

Dr. Christina Francis, incoming CEO of the pro-life group, said the doctors weren’t told about the cancellation until after arriving in Maryland, even though the organization booked the booth last year and has participated in the conference for the last 15 years.

She pushed back with a video posted Monday on Twitter challenging the CEO of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to a debate on the health consequences of elective abortion.

“This is very interesting considering the theme of this year’s conference, which is ‘building bridges,’” said Dr. Francis, who practices in Fort Wayne, Indiana. “However, ACOG is showing yet again they have no desire to build bridges with those of us who disagree even a little bit on their position on abortion.”

She said “the only explanation we’ve received is a vague explanation that we disagree with ACOG, presumably on the issue of abortion.”

In a Wednesday statement, ACOG said that it “does not plan to respond to that tweet.”

ACOG members are welcome to register for and attend ACOG meetings,” said the group in a statement to The Washington Times. “At the CREOG-APGO Annual Meeting, ACOG also welcomes exhibitors that align with ACOG’s and APGO’s shared commitment to the advancement of evidence-based, scientific information.”

The CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting is held by the Association of Professors of Gynecology & Obstetrics and the Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology, which falls under the ACOG umbrella.

This isn’t the first time the pro-life OBGYNs have been booted from an event. Last year, the American College of Nurse-Midwives told AAPLOG that it was no longer welcome to exhibit at its October conference, even though the group had participated for the last six years.

In July, the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology threatened to pull the certification of OBGYNs who promote “misinformation and disinformation” about abortion and contraception.

Dr. Francis said such moves are discouraging anti-abortion medical students from entering the specialty.

“It’s no wonder that pro-life students are self-selecting out of the field of OBGYN,” she told The Washington Times. “It’s what we hear from them, because they’re afraid of discrimination. They’re afraid of being canceled, essentially.”

ACOG has condemned state restrictions on abortion since the fall of Roe v. Wade, calling the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson “a direct blow to bodily autonomy, reproductive health, patient safety, and health equity in the United States.”

The organization “strongly opposes any effort that impedes access to abortion care and interferes in the relationship between a person and their healthcare professional,” according to its abortion policy updated in May.

Dr. Francis argued that “what ACOG is trying to do is systematically silence voices that dissent with them, especially with this issue of abortion,” which she said would include anyone who favors guardrails on abortion access.

“Even people who necessarily aren’t pro-life, but who say, ‘I don’t agree with ACOG that elective abortion should be available through all nine months of pregnancy’ — even those people would be in disagreement with ACOG,” she said.

The 2023 CREOG & APGO Annual Meeting runs from Monday through Wednesday.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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