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The goal of National Women’s Health Week is to empower women to make their health a priority. This is an opportunity to reflect on the resources women of all ages and circumstances must have available to take care of themselves.

Having an annual well-woman visit is an important way for a woman to take charge of her own health. Routine health care visits can help find problems early or prevent health problems before they occur. If problems are found early, they may be easier to treat and less likely to pose serious health risks. Preventive health care includes discussions about cancer screening, immunizations, sexual concerns, preconception counseling, reproductive health, birth control and age appropriate screening tests.

Taking an active role in decisions regarding health care is empowering. When scheduling an appointment, women should engage in conversations about these topics. A well-woman visit is more than a checkup — it is a means for patients and their doctors to participate in open, confidential discussions that allow them to plan their lives and determine the decisions about their futures that are right for them.

But legislators have now entered the exam room, compromising this relationship.

Over the past several years, the officers and advisory council of the Michigan Section of American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have been faced with a barrage of legislation that only serves to disrupt the physician-patient relationship and has no medical foundation.

We have seen bills introduced that would tell physicians when and when not to perform ultrasounds, limit contraceptive coverage, interfere with family planning, and scare women about breast cancer risk, contrary to current data and medical evidence. Physicians are obligated to offer the best evidence-based care to patients, and these bills block the ability to do so. Most importantly, they endanger patient health, safety, and self-determination.

This National Women’s Health Week, work with your ob-gyn to take charge of your health care. And, let your legislators know that the next time you see your doctor, your physician is the only one you want in the exam room.

Jody Jones, MD

Chair, Michigan Section

American Congress of Obstetricians

and Gynecologists

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