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Contact: press@johnfetterman.com

September 15, 2022
NEWS: PA OB/GYNs Hold ‘Physicians for Fetterman & Shapiro’ Press Conference Blasting Dr. Oz, Mastriano, and GOP for Dangerous Anti-Choice Agenda

“We're here today, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as physicians who understand protecting our patients’ lives demands electing John Fetterman and Josh Shapiro."

Philadelphia, PA -- Today, nearly 30 Pennsylvania doctors held a press conference at Philadelphia City Hall led by OB/GYNs warning voters about the life-threatening consequences of Dr. Oz and Doug Mastriano’s extremist anti-choice agenda and the GOP’s new federal abortion ban. The doctors – part of Physicians for Fetterman and Shapiro, a network of 300 doctors organizing against Dr. Oz and Doug Mastriano – were joined by City Councilwoman Helen Gym,and State House Candidates Melissa Cerrato and Lisa Borowski. 

It’s been more than 60 hours since Senate Republicans introduced a national ban on abortions after 15 weeks. Even as Sen. Lindsey Graham said he “can assure” that there will be a vote on this bill if Republicans win the House and Senate, Oz who was recently caught on a hot mic calling abortion at any stage of a pregnancy “murder,” has still refused to come clean about his position on the bill. 

Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman said, “Today, dozens of PA Doctors showed up at City Hall in Philadelphia to call Dr. Oz on his bullshit attempt to hide his anti-choice extremism from PA voters. Real Doctors know this isn’t some TV show. This matters. These are people’s lives.”

A full HD version of the press conference can be downloaded here.

Youtube link from the press conference can be found here.

Photos can be downloaded here and a full transcript can be found here

Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym said, “Dr. Oz and Doug Mastriano have been absolutely clear that they will take away our rights and the 15 week abortion ban that Senator Lindsey Graham put forth this week shows and proves what the GOP plans to do. Their goal is ban abortions nationwide. We will not let that happen. These doctors and the rest of Pennsylvania are going to stand in their way.”

Dr. Jessica Klemens, DO, Obstetrician/Gynecologist in Montgomery Co said, We're here today, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as physicians who understand the importance of electing John Fetterman to the US Senate. and Josh Shapiro as our Commonwealth's next governor. It’s time to step forward, it is time to speak up, it is time to stick our necks out because pregnant women and girls’ lives are in danger with the new legislation aimed at banning abortion in Pennsylvania and nationwide.”

Speaking about her mother who is voting for Fettterman, Shapiro, and Democrats for the first time this november because of choice, Dr. Klemens continued, “If an Evangelical Christian woman in her mid 60s can change her mind by gaining a better understanding of the need for safe & accessible abortion care, then anyone can.”

Emergency Medicine Dr. Ben Abella shared a personal story about a life-saving abortion, “From my own experience I can share a story on how abortions can save lives. Julie was a 23 year old married woman with one child. She was pregnant with her second child and was thrilled to have the opportunity to grow her young family.  But something was seriously wrong. She experienced severe abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding, so she and her husband came to the emergency room. We diagnosed Julie with an ectopic pregnancy.  That means that Julie’s pregnancy had formed in the wrong place in her body, not in the uterus but in the fallopian tube. Ectopic pregnancy is common, and it can be deadly. Many women with ectopic pregnancy require immediate care before the pregnancy ruptures and leads to serious internal bleeding, even death. We diagnosed Julie with an ectopic pregnancy – she and her husband were terrified.  Julie was already bleeding internally, and very sick. But, with rapid coordination with our gynecology teams, we were able to give her blood transfusions, surgically treat the ectopic pregnancy, and save Julie’s life.”

Speaking to the effect of abortion bans on a patient like Julie, Dr. Abella continued, “Hospital lawyers are preventing emergency doctors from activating ectopic management unless the patient is truly on death’s doorstep. Some women are being discharged without any treatment, for fear of legal repercussions … This is unacceptable.”

Dr. Alhambra Frarey, MD, MSHP, an Assistant Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology in Philadelphia said,  “The introduction of a federal abortion ban makes it extremely clear that anti-abortion extremists are not finished. We need politicians like John Fetterman and Josh Shapiro who will fight to protect abortion in Harrisburg and in DC. Pennsylvania is already amid a maternal mortality crisis. And Pennsylvania abortion patients and providers face numerous, onerous restrictions that make it really difficult to access abortion care as things stand today. Oz and Mastriano would strip of us of these rights at the state and federal level.”

Dr. Karen Feisullin, MD, Obstetrician/Gynecologist, Co-Director of the Ryan Residency Training Program in Abortion and Family Planning in Montgomery Co said: “If the GOP’s 15-week ban is approved, they will continue to roll back the gestational age limit until abortion is at fertilization, following TX, OK, LA, MS, MO, AK, KY, TN, AL, WI, SD, ID. PA will be next. So it’s time to take back Pennsylvania. We need to elect Democratic candidates like John Fetterman for PA Senate and Josh Shapiro for Governor. They have both proven throughout their careers that they will protect abortion access. Mehmet Oz will not protect our rights. He admitted he believes that abortion is murder after fertilization – a radically out of touch comment. Oz is woefully out of step with the 9 in 10 Pennsylvania voters that support abortion rights.”

Dr. Kavita Vinekar, MD, MPH, Obstetrician/Gynecologist and Complex Family Planning Specialist in Philadelphia said, “As someone who is 17 weeks pregnant, I imagine with horror living in a state and a country that robs me of the most basic right to end my pregnancy if I need to. At 17 weeks, I still do not have some basic information about this pregnancy. I do not know whether my pregnancy will result in a liveborn baby, or whether there are anomalies that are incompatible with life. I do not know if I will develop a complication that could put me at risk of severe infection and even death. But what I do know is this: I have a child at home who needs me. And I would give anything to be there for her, to be the best mother I can be to her, and if that meant ending this pregnancy so that I could survive to care for her, I would do that without hesitation. Any government – state or federal - that prevents me and other pregnant people from making that vital decision is committing a grotesque act of violence.”

Dr. Vinekar continued, “As a doctor, I don’t see my job as political. In fact, being politically active is outside of my comfort zone. But I stand before you all today, as a physician, as a mother, as a pregnant woman, because I am horrified at the thought of a world that denies me and my patients life-saving healthcare. Instead of feeling completely powerless, I am voting and encouraging anyone who can vote in Pennsylvania, to vote for Fetterman and Shapiro on November 8th”

Dr. Blythe Bynum, MD Obstetrician/Gynecologist and Fellow in Complex Family Planning said: “The 15 week federal abortion ban is the definition of exploiting pregnant people for political gain. It ignores the realities of obstetrical care. It ignores the fact that patients need time to obtain vital information about their pregnancies from providers. It establishes an arbitrary timeline that would lead to the forced pregnancy and birth, even in for those pregnancies that complicated by severe fetal complications incompatible with life. 

“People come to my clinic fearful of what care might be available from day to day. And they aren’t wrong. The future of abortion for my patients is uncertain. Republican politicians in Washington DC are poised to pass more patriarchal laws that threaten our health, our safety and  our autonomy if they gain a majority in congress. We must show up in November and vote for John Fetterman to fight for our reproductive rights in DC.”

Dr. Belinda Birnbaum, MD, Rheumatologist in Montgomery Co, Lead Physician in PA Women Physicians with Democratic Principles said, “It is only since the Dobb’s decision in June that we have organized by state.  Here in Pennsylvania we have stepped out in real life.  We need to share our stories. We have been canvassing and doing Town Halls for state representative candidates, writing op-eds, and educating voters about what is at stake this November.  We are not public figures, we are not used to public speaking, and I am stepping way out of my comfort zone to be here today. Abortion is on the ballot in Pennsylvania this November. To protect my patients we need to vote for democrats in from state and house senate to the US Senate, this November The stakes could not be higher.”

Dr. Sarah Gleberman, MD - OBGYN resident in Montgomery Co said, “Who we elect in November will determine our right to abortion here in Pennsylvania. John Fetterman has shown he cares about Pennsylvania women and is ready to advocate for their reproductive rights on a national level; Josh Shapiro has shown the same on the state level. Mehmet Oz and Doug Mastriano have shown the opposite with their dangerous and extremist pro-life views. Oz has gone as far as to call abortion at any point “murder” - making it clear that if elected, he will criminalize abortion and send providers and patients to jail.

“How many physicians will Pennsylvania lose if our elected officials don’t show us they care about our patients’ safety and autonomy as much as we do? Well, the answer is at least one, and you’re looking at her. That’s why I’m here today - this is the first time I’ve ever spoken to the media. I’m a lot more comfortable holding a Pap smear kit than a microphone, but this is too important to stay quiet. It’s about my future, my colleagues’ future, my patients’ future, and Pennsylvania’s future.”

A transcript of the full press conference can be found here.
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