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ASH Advocates for the Right to Maternal Health Care

 (WASHINGTON, June 24, 2022) – Today, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion in the United States in 1973, through its decision in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. This decision will bring abortion bans into effect in nearly half of the country’s 50 states, limiting maternal health options for women across the country.

Following the release of this news, ASH President Jane N. Winter, MD, of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, issued the following statement:

“As a Society, we at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) have long been aware of the close connection between hematology and maternal health, since hemorrhage and venous thromboembolism are two of the top five causes of death in pregnant women. The ASH policy statement on the maternal health rights of women with hematologic conditions outlines the many blood disorders that put pregnant women at risk of severe, even fatal, health complications.

The statement addresses ways that hematologic conditions can adversely affect maternal health, asserts that the choice to terminate a pregnancy is a crucial clinical consideration when a woman is at risk of severe health complications or death, and states that access to evidence-based medical information and lifesaving medical options, including termination of pregnancy, is a maternal right.

Having the right to choose to terminate a pregnancy is critical for the patients our members serve. Blood disorders, including sickle cell disease and blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, can pose a profound risk to maternal health. In some cases, denying women their right to terminate a pregnancy puts them at risk of serious illness or death.

Further, limiting access to reproductive health resources damages the relationship between patients and providers, which is paramount to providing the highest quality of care. ASH strongly opposes any federal action that interferes with this relationship and harms patients’ abilities to seek necessary medical treatment.

ASH supports the right to maternal health care that addresses hematologic disorders and advocates for access to reproductive health services for all people. We remain committed to combating inequities in hematology and supporting clinicians who serve vulnerable populations, including those at risk of maternal health conditions.”

The American Society of Hematology (ASH) (www.hematology.org) is the world’s largest professional society of hematologists dedicated to furthering the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting the blood. For more than 60 years, the Society has led the development of hematology as a discipline by promoting research, patient care, education, training, and advocacy in hematology. ASH’s flagship journal, Blood (www.bloodjournal.org), is the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, and Blood Advances (www.bloodadvances.org) is the Society’s online, peer-reviewed open-access journal.

Kira Sampson, American Society of Hematology 
[email protected]; 202-499-1796