By Jennifer Henderson
MedPage Today July 8, 2022
Marcela Azevedo, MD, sat in frustration late last month as she first watched the Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade, and then Ohio enact its 6-week “heartbeat” abortion ban.
Azevedo, a pulmonologist and critical care physician in Cleveland, told MedPage Today how she was gravely concerned about the life-threatening ramifications the decisions would have, and what it would mean for women to lose autonomy over their own bodies.
She was hardly alone.
After connecting with fellow Ohio physician Lauren Beene, MD, a pediatrician, and organizing on Facebook, Azevedo and Beene co-founded a grassroots group called Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights. The group decided to write and publish a letter detailing physicians’ anguish and medical opinions about what has happened, and what they believe a ban on abortions will do to their patients.
In 3 days, 700 physicians from all over the state and with countless specialties had signed the letter, Azevedo said. And in 5 days, 1,000 physicians had inked their name in approval. Since the letter’s publishing, there are now some 1,200 physicians who have joined the group, and that number is expected to grow.
“People’s lives are at stake when they don’t have access to abortion,” Azevedo said.
Pregnancy can be debilitating, depending on a person’s underlying conditions or complications that may arise, she said, adding that her group’s letter also includes strong language about what it means to lose autonomy over one’s own body.