SGO Statement on Texas SB8: Experts in Gynecologic Cancer Care Concerned About Patient Outcomes
Chicago, IL (Sept. 7, 2021) — The Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) is concerned by the passage of Texas Senate Bill 8, which took effect Sept. 1, 2021. Texas SB8 bans all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy and allows private citizens to raise civil litigation against providers and those who aid or abet a person in obtaining an abortion.
The foundation of SGO’s Principles of Ethical Conduct and Practice is to uphold the welfare of the patient as paramount. Therefore, SGO opposes any legislation that restricts a person’s access to health care and criminalizes the practice of medicine. Texas SB8 poses a serious threat to the physician-patient relationship and subsequent decision making necessary to ensure optimal cancer outcomes for a patient. This bill, for instance, stands to limit a practitioner from offering radical hysterectomy as a definitive treatment for an early-stage cervical cancer patient who is pregnant or performing a D&C for a partial molar pregnancy.
Texas SB8 also has the potential to increase health care disparities for cancer outcomes in underrepresented, low income and vulnerable populations. By creating a climate of fear and lack of access to reproductive health care, this bill potentially places individuals, particularly those in underserved communities, in the unacceptable situation of delaying gynecologic cancer treatment as they try to access reproductive health services. Ultimately, this bill fractures physician-patient shared decision making that is fundamental to optimal health outcomes. The gynecologic oncology health care team should be allowed to provide evidence-based counseling and care that optimizes patient outcomes without fear of retribution or liability.
The Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO) is the premier medical specialty society for health care professionals trained in the comprehensive management of gynecologic cancers. As a 501(c)(6) organization, SGO contributes to the advancement of women’s cancer care by encouraging research, providing education, raising standards of practice, advocating for patients and members and collaborating with other domestic and international organizations.