ASH Meets with LA Governor Edwards on Maternal Health
On Friday, September 23, 2022, ASH members met with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards to discuss the impact of the ASH Annual Meeting on New Orleans and Louisiana as well as the Society’s efforts related to maternal health. ASH members in attendance included Dr. Jane Winter, 2022 ASH President, and two Louisiana constituents, Dr. Chancellor Donald (Tulane University), Chair of the ASH Committee on Practice, and Dr. Laura Finn (Ochsner Health), Member of the ASH Committee on Government Affairs.
During the in-person meeting, ASH educated Governor Edwards on the close connection between hematology and maternal health and shared that the Society has undertaken a comprehensive effort to help improve maternal health care outcomes. Drs. Donald and Finn also shared the recently released ASH policy statement on maternal health which outlines the many blood disorders that put pregnant women at risk of severe, even fatal, health complications and supports the maternal health rights of women with hematologic conditions.
ASH expressed appreciation that there are medical exceptions to the Louisiana abortion law, especially with respect to substantial risk of death to pregnant women due to a physical condition, or to prevent the serious, permanent impairment of a life-sustaining organ of a pregnant woman, and that procedures and medical services are permitted under law. However, the Society shared concerns regarding implementation of the exceptions to the law. They stressed that physicians in Louisiana – including hematologists – want to be able to provide medical consultations and/or appropriate medical care to pregnant women, without fear of being prosecuted/being held criminally liable because of questions regarding what the law means and/or how the law is being interpreted and implemented.
ASH and Governor Edwards had a productive meeting and will continue the conversation. The Society looks forward to continuing to work with the state of Louisiana – and other states – to preserve the important relationship between the physician and their patient; and to ensure that physicians will not be fearful to provide consultation and/or necessary medical maternal health services.
(L-R: Dr. Laura Finn, Governor Edwards, Dr. Jane Winter, Dr. Chancellor Donald)