Abortion is health care — no ruling from any court is going to change that.

As an obstetrician-gynecologist, I know firsthand that doctors, nurses and health care providers are the experts. Throughout our training, we are taught the art and science of patient care and how to best provide for our patients. And yet I am writing this today because politicians have decided they are more qualified to speak on behalf of our patients than we are.

Abortion is not a political matter, it’s a medical one, and for many patients, it’s a life-saving option. Inserting politics into reproductive health care is detrimental to people’s health and threatens the sacred patient-physician relationship.

People need to have access to safe and legal abortions. We know what will happen if they don’t — people will die, families will be torn apart, and poverty will worsen. This will disproportionately impact people of color and low-income people, as well as those who live in rural communities, often those who need access to health care the most. Politicians such as Sen. Ron Johnson have suggested that if people do not like their state-mandated laws on abortion “you can move.” For most Wisconsinites, this is simply not true. Not everyone will be able to afford to travel out of state or seek abortion services outside of the U.S. — and more importantly, no one should have to.

This is the United States of America. We are one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and yet we are putting some of our most vulnerable neighbors at risk because an extremist group of politicians has decided to overrule science, the advice of medical professionals, and the will of the people.

It is my professional opinion that Roe v. Wade saves lives and must continue to be the law of the land. It’s also a popular opinion. Nationwide, 72% of Americans want Roe v. Wade to stand.

Here in Wisconsin, the majority of voters believe that abortion should be legal in all or most cases. There is consensus among the health care community, the scientific community, and the citizens of our state, that people deserve unimpeded access to safe and legal abortion services.

Today, abortion is still legal in the state of Wisconsin, and I encourage everyone to continue to seek the reproductive services they need. But should Roe v. Wade be overturned, Wisconsin’s antiquated abortion ban will go into effect. To the Republicans who have supported and advocated for this: Stop attacking people’s right to make their own decisions about their reproductive health.

It is crucial that our leaders recognize that abortion is health care, and like every other form of health care, it needs to be accessible and affordable to all.

Kristin Lyerly is an OB-GYN in Green Bay. 

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