A message from our Chief Medical Officer

Jessica Shepherd MD, MBA, FACOG is a Board Certified OB-GYN and Chief Medical Officer of Verywell Health. She is the founder and CEO of Sanctum Med + Wellness, a wellness concierge firm, and is affiliated with Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

This week, a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion posed a major threat to reproductive rights. Americans have learned Roe vs. Wadea case that protects a person’s right to an abortion, could soon be overturned.

As a doctor, health care advocate and woman, I join the millions of people appalled by this threat. I will continue to fight for my patients and my community.

At this time, it is important to know that abortion is still legal in all 50 states. And even if Roe vs. Wade is canceled, it does not mean a national ban on abortion. That means abortion rights are left to states, many of which already impose restrictions on access, and about half of which are expected to implement bans soon after the court’s ruling is upheld.

As an OB-GYN and chief medical officer of a health website, I want women to know that doctors respect your beliefs. We also respect reproductive justice and the right to make your own choices.

The Supreme Court mandates a person’s ability to make personal decisions for themselves in a safe environment. The judges behind this opinion violate the very human right to decide whether to have children or not to have children.

Refusing abortion care doesn’t just result in pregnancy. This can lead to physical, psychological and emotional harm. It can upset the life and finances of someone who is unprepared to be a parent.

But let’s be honest. Abortion restrictions will not prevent abortions from happening. It will just make them harder to access and make them potentially dangerous. Inevitably, some people will have to travel out of state to get an abortion. Others may have difficulty obtaining timely abortion medication, which can be safely used to terminate a pregnancy up to 14 weeks gestation.

We have to protect these people. This means donating to organizations that help fund travel for abortions. It means peaceful protests. And for providers, that means continuing to provide access to high-quality, affordable family planning and contraceptive services.