History of AAPLOG
In the fall of 1972, Matthew J. Bulfin, M.D., of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, FL., received two publications sent out by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) to all its members: “Behavior Aspects of Abortion”, extolling the concept of abortion on demand, and “The Management of Sexual Crises in the Female” advocating abortions for minors without parental consent. Thousands of obstetricians and gynecologists were disturbed by this drastic departure by the College from what had always been a joyous tradition: that of protecting and safeguarding both the mother and her unborn. The Supreme Court decision followed in January 1973. The College had laid the groundwork for abortion on demand.
The week after the Supreme Court decision, Dr. Bulfin made ten telephone calls to prominent obstetricians and gynecologists across the country to sound them out about the feasibility of a Pro Life group within the College. Nine of ten gave their enthusiastic support of the idea.
The late John G. Masterson, M.D., Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago and well-respected in academic ranks, gave Dr. Bulfin his valuable expertise in getting the organization underway.
Thirty one obstetricians and gynecologists attended the founding meetings in Bal Harbour, FL. on April 21, 1973. Dr. William Lynch, of Boston, then Secretary of the New England OB/Gyn Society, was extremely helpful in formulating the Constitution and Bylaws.
Since the initial meeting in Bal Harbour, AAPLOG has met yearly, and held the title of “special interest group” within ACOG for 40 years, from 1973 until 2013, until ACOG discontinued the designation of “special interest group”. Currently we sponsor an annual mid-winter continuing medical education meeting. We also host an educational booth at ACOG’s annual clinical meeting, APGO-CREOG’s annual meeting, and various other national medical meetings (ACOOG, CMDA, WIMD, CathMedAssn), and pregnancy resource center meetings (CareNet, Heartbeat, NIFLA, BFL). We continue to be a credible professional advocate for the life of the unborn child, for adequate informed consent for women seeking abortion, for honest evaluation of complications associated with abortion, and for the right of physicians to follow their conscience convictions regarding doing or referring for abortion.
AAPLOG PRO-LIFE ACTIVISM SINCE 1989
1989 & 1993
The American Association of Pro life Obstetricians and Gynecologists presented its Pro life Award to President Ronald Reagan in 1989 and to Congressman Henry Hyde (R-IL) in 1993 for their efforts in the Pro life arena.
In 1994, AAPLOG surveyed all obstetricians and gynecologists in the United States as to their position on abortion and the stance ACOG has taken on the issue. The results indicated 52% of the respondents opposed abortion on demand (as a form of birth control), and 61% thought ACOG should take a neutral or anti-abortion stance on the issue of abortion.
In 1994, we also opposed an ACOG plan supporting non-physician abortion providers.
In 1995, we were successfully involved with the House Committee on Education Oversight in opposing the 1995 ACGME attempt to mandate that every OB/GYN resident be trained to perform elective abortions, and every training program to provide such training in order to remain accredited. The resulting federal legislation, The Medical Training Nondiscrimination Act of 1995 protects the right of physicians to follow their own conscience on this issue, and rendered the ACGME’s mandated accreditation requirements practically unenforceable.
In 1996, when ACOG officially opposed federal Partial Birth Abortion (PBA) Ban legislation, we wrote a strong letter of protest to ACOG. We will be glad to send you, on request, a copy of our letter detailing our position and reasoning.
In 1997, we highlighted information regarding the still controversial Abortion-Breast Cancer link. We continue to explore data on this and other abortion complications.
Since the FDA approval of the abortifacient RU 486 (Mifeprex) in late 2000, we have been involved with filing and following up an extensive Citizens Petition challenging the FDA’s flawed approval process. Additionally, we have produced educational literature documenting the lax requirements of care surrounding use relative to the trials used to approve the drug and compared to other countries. We also continue to document and evaluate the reported adverse events and deaths associated with Mifeprex use.
Since the 2003 FDA hearing on possible OTC approval of Plan B for emergency contraception we have strongly opposed this approval on solid medical grounds. ACOG leadership has been a very committed supporter of OTC approval. We have written letters of objection to both ACOG and the FDA. In November, 2005, in cooperation with several other concerned groups, we submitted extensive legal and medical comments to the FDA opposing OTC status for Plan B or other emergency contraceptives.
Since 2004, we have encouraged members to write letters of support to their legislators to ban human cloning and embryonic stem cell research.
In 2004 and 2005, we have been actively involved defending our beliefs in Court: in the New Hampshire Parental Consent Case, the Washington euthanasia case, and challenges to the Weldon amendment in Washington DC and California. The Weldon Amendment is a 2004 law that protects the conscience rights of health care providers by denying federal money to institutions or organizations that require health care providers to perform or to refer patients to other providers for an abortion procedure.
In a direct assault on the Weldon Amendment, in August, 2005, the President of ACOG, in a letter to U.S. Senators requested that Federal legislation be changed so that doctors with a moral objection to abortion be required to refer the patient asking for abortion to a doctor who will do the procedure. AAPLOG vigorously objected to this attempt to use federal legislation to force pro-life doctors to violate their conscience by requiring them to be complicit in the abortion procedure in this way. We sent with a strong letter of protest to every state, district, and national officer of ACOG (for whom we could find an address) detailing our objections.
In 2006, AAPLOG participated in the development and submission of an amicus curiae in support of the Partial Birth Abortion ban.
In April, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in favor of the constitutionality of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban. In October, 2007, AAPLOG participated in the International “Women Deliver” conference in London, and added our voice to those objecting to universal solution for high maternal mortality rates in underdeveloped countries.
In October, 2007, the ACOG “Ethics Committee” issued Opinion #385, entitled “The limits of Conscientious Refusal in Reproductive Medicine,” stating that physicians have an ethical obligation to either do or to refer patients for abortion, should the patient so request. AAPLOG vigorously opposed this Opinion, and asked ACOG to reconsider and rescind Opinion #385.
In January, 2008, ABOG announced certain changes in the Maintenance of Certification requirements.: Part 1 of the new 4 part MOC process requires that one must satisfy ACOG Ethics requirements, to wit, “must adhere to ethical standards outlined by ACOG and sanctioned by ABOG.” AAPLOG is asking for clarification, since as the wording of Opinion #385 and MOC part I currently exist, there is the potential for a physician refusing to refer for abortion to be denied recertification. Feb 2009 Update: The 2009 ABOG Maintenance of Certification requirements changed the language so there is no reference to the ACOG Ethics standards. This satisfies AAPLOG’s request for clarification and alleviates concerns expressed earlier in this paragraph.
In August, 2008, the U.S. Dept of HHS announced proposed new regulations that would update and strengthen legislation passed since the 1970’s whose purpose is to protect the conscience rights of healthcare providers. AAPLOG is strongly supporting these proposed new regulations.
In August, 2008, the American Psychological Association accepted a report by its Task Force on Abortion and Mental Health. AAPLOG strongly objects to what we consider the heavily unbalanced treatment of the scientific literature, with exclusion of much of the literature which is, in our opinion, biased in favor of the conclusion. We have sent a letter of protest to the APA.
In September, 2008, AAPLOG participated in the President’s Council on Bio-ethics, which examined the issues surrounding ACOG Ethics Committee Opinion #385. AAPLOG will continue to be the voice for Obstetricians and Gynecologists who have chosen to stand for the right to life of the unborn, for an honest and open discussion within the medical profession regarding the long term complications of abortion, and for the rights of women considering abortion to be given adequate “informed consent” information regarding the procedure.
In March 2009, AAPLOG participated with a coalition of prolife organizations to develop Freedom2Care.org, a website initiative focused on the necessity of the physician’s right of conscience in medical decision making. The first project was to rally support for the new HHS Consicence Regulation, (which protects healthcare workers’ right of conscience) as the new administration threatens to rescind the new regulation.