Abortion & The American Academy of Family Medicine

Please see the email from the CMA below. Please contact us if you’d like more info and we would be happy to connect you.

My name is Lisa Gilbert and I want to update you about a new Family Medicine Section within AAPLOG (American Academy of Prolife OBGYNs). If you are in family medicine and want to join this growing group of physicians, please email me…

In conjunction with the newly formed Family Medicine Section of the Christian Medical and Dental Association (CMDA), we are also reaching out to family physicians with an important message. On September 23-25, the American Academy of Family Physicians Congress of Delegates (COD) will meet in Philadelphia to consider resolutions on abortion that will steer policy and advocacy of the AAFP for years to come.

The AAFP has traditionally remained neutral on abortion. Over the last several years, the AAFP has passed resolutions on abortion-related topics, addressing safety, accessibility, and government intrusion on the physician-patient relationship. This year, however, it has become obvious that the intention is to move the AAFP to outright endorsement of abortion. Multiple states are submitting multiple resolutions with several major focuses: (see 2019 COD Resolutions) (AAFP member login required). 

  1. That the AAFP affirmthe legality of Roe vs Wade;
  2. That the AAFP oppose the criminalization of abortion providers;
  3. That the AAFP partner with medical groups (ACOG) in position papers to defend access to abortion services;
  4. That the AAFP support the right of family physicians to provide abortion care and support all clinicians who are trained in providing medication and first trimester aspiration abortions.

In the next four weeks, we vitally need your help in pushing back against these pro-abortion movements. If you are an AAFP member, we are specifically asking for your participation in one of two ways: 

  1. If you are attending the AAFP FMX in Philadelphia, would you consider arriving several days early for the Congress of Delegates to speak for the unborn?Any member of the AAFP can speak for/against resolutions during reference committee hearings on Monday afternoon, September 23rd. We have prepared talking points to help with this effort and would like to place you in contact with others at the COD so that our efforts are coordinated.
  2. If you are unable to attend the Congress of Delegates, please contact your two state Delegatesand two Alternate-Delegates with your concerns. Again, we have prepared talking points below and drafted a separate example letter that can be personalized and submitted to your state delegation. To reach your state Delegates and Alternate Delegates, please contact your state association as outlined on this page.

We know you receive multiple calls to speak up and advocate on many different issues…but in this fight, we can advocate for OUR patients who truly do not have a voice.  If you are not a member of the AAFP, we would deeply appreciate your prayers as we try to push back against these movements. 

Thank you for defending life!


Lisa Gilbert, MD

AAPLOG Family Medicine Section Chair

                                                                                     ____________________________________                                                                                               _________________________                                                                                                              Talking Points   1) Abortion Neutrality – Ideally, we would prefer that the AAFP take a stance AGAINST abortion but  clearly the battle lines have shifted. We feel it is important that the AAFP retain its neutral stance on abortion. The AAFP has had a longstanding stance of neutrality on abortion. Why does the AAFP now need to take a pro-abortion stance at this time? We have concerns that a very significant portion of AAFP members would be opposed to a pro-abortion stance and leave the AAFP, thus splitting the membership and reducing the importance of advocacy for issues that unite all family physicians. If the Congress of Delegates or the Board of Directors really believe there is a concerted effort by its members to take a pro-abortion stance, then we ask that they perform a poll of the membership to ascertain the exact stance of the membership and not just the vocal interests groups. 2) Affirming the Legality of Roe vs Wade and the criminalization of abortion providers – As we have seen in a handful of states, the citizens of these states have spoken through their democratically elected officials that abortion should be restricted through law. Although abortion is currently “legal” via the Supreme Court decision, this was largely girded on the argument that the government should not be involved in the privacy of a woman and her decision to seek an abortion…it was not via legislation that abortion became “legal” in the US. See the extensive explanation included at the end of this letter
We will also hear the argument that the lawmakers need to stay out of the “physician-patient relationship.” This argument is political doublespeak for the AAFP as we ask the government to intervene in tobacco use, in advocating for government mandated vaccinations, etc. If not through lawful and legislative means, how else should the citizens of our country enact such a change to abortion law?    3) Signing with the ACOG – “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists supports the availability of high-quality reproductive health services for all women and is committed to improving access to abortion.” By signing with ACOG, the AAFP would thus move from a neutral stance on abortion to one of explicit support. See the more extensive explanation included at the end of this letter.   4) Supporting family physicians in the training and performance of abortion – Those advocating for abortion clearly want the AAFP to support, advocate, and train family physicians in the delivery of abortion care. This is contrary to many of us who entered family medicine with the intention to support life from the time of conception.   The reference committees at the Congress of Delegates require us to be present in person to speak. Otherwise we can, at minimum, speak to and through our state delegates in opposition to this movement. Do not feel disheartened if you feel that you are standing alone, for earlier this summer a petition was signed by nearly 1700 family physicians and submitted to the AAFP Board of Directors. Although you may speak or write as a single individual, you share the concerns of many others.  For in-depth points of rebuttal to the recent pro-abortion stances of the AAFP and Group of Six, please read this rebuttal statement. If you would like to learn more about the Congress of Delegates, how resolutions are brought about, and the process by which you may influence the future of the AAFP, please read the following document. (AAFP Member log in required) Please contact Margie Shealy at main@ethicalhealthcare.organd let her know if you will be able to attend the Congress of Delegates so that we can coordinate our efforts.                                                                                 ____________________________________                                                                                             _________________________                                                                               Further Background around AAFP Resolutions   Regarding the AAFP endorsing the legality of Roe v. Wade, the right to privacy and the patient-physician relationship: The Roe v. Wade right to abortion is grounded in the right to privacy argument, and in the definition of personhood.1 The right to privacy argument finds precedent in Griswold v. Connecticut. Griswold holds that a right to privacy prevents the government from intruding into a married couple’s bedroom to restrict their use of contraception.2 Roe further denies the fetus legal status as a person under the law.3 It is important to note that Griswold presumes to deal with two consenting adults making bilateral decisions regarding reproduction. But there is a huge gulf in terms of the right to privacy in the decision to use contraception and the right to privacy in the decision to abort a child.4 The decision is antiquated. 3-D ultrasound, the tremendous advances in fetal surgery, and the completion of the human genome project have taken us into the womb to see this fetus: the unborn child who has a complete and unique human genetic code, who looks like her parent, who sucks his thumb, who moves away from the ultrasound probe pressing against her mother’s abdomen, who practices breathing and has a developed neurologic system that enables him to feel pain.   This is the unborn child who now undergoes life saving intrauterine surgery and can survive outside of the womb as early as 23 weeks gestation. Physicians are pushing back the age of viability every year. We now understand that this unborn human is a person under any definition of personhood. The right to privacy cannot encompass all privately made decisions-by the individual or by the patient and physician within their relationship-because the right to privacy does not allow one individual to harm or kill another innocent human being.   The argument can thus be made that although Roe is technically the law of the land, its reasoning is based upon a faulty understanding of human life and personhood in the womb.It follows that its argument of a right to privacy in abortion thereby is no longer a valid one. The AAFP should at a minimum elect to stay neutral regarding Roe, as it is now a controversial decision based on antiquated science.6   Regarding joining with ACOG: The American College/Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has long been aligned with pro-abortion groups. Its political nature (and advocacy for pro-abortion policies) through the Congress and its political action committee (OB-GynPAC) is overt. But the purpose of AAFP has never been one of playing politics; rather, its purpose is to represent ALL of its members as its members care for patients throughout the United States and the world. The AAFP should stand for life for all patients. Physician killing – whether in the womb or at the bedside of a terminally ill person-should never be endorsed; however, if the AAFP is uncomfortable taking such a “pro-life” position, it should at least default to a “do no harm” stance and proclaim neutrality on these issues.

White Mass

You are invited to join us for our annual White Mass! 

This is a wonderful opportunity for health care professionals to come together to experience the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with each other and our community. 

Bishop Matano will be presiding and there will be a reception and dinner to follow.

If you would like to join us for dinner please RSVP by October 20 at RSVP.FLG.event@gmail.com

White Mass 2019 Post Card

President’s Note – 27 August 2019

As the incoming president of the Finger Lakes Guild of the Catholic Medical Association, I wanted to take a moment to briefly introduce myself and share some thoughts about where I hope to lead the Guild during my term.  By way of introduction, I am a practicing general internist and palliative care specialist, caring for patients in multiple setting including the office, hospital, and at home.  I also have the honor of directing a first-year medical school course at the U of R and am the director of our new Advanced Communication Training (ACT) Program.  More importantly, I am a husband, father of four…and most importantly…a disciple of Jesus Christ and a member of His Holy Catholic Church.

We live in challenging times where it seems that technology, and indeed society, are changing at a pace unprecedented in human history.  Whether this is strictly true, there is no doubt that our modern world presents formidable challenges for healthcare professionals trying to live devoutly Catholic lives. 

The overarching goal of the Guild is to assist healthcare professionals in upholding the principles of the Catholic Church in the practice of medicine and pursuit of science.  With the leadership of my predecessors, the protection of our Blessed Mother, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the Guild has worked effectively toward that goal with educational offerings, lobbying efforts, and community building.  I hope to build on these wonderful accomplishments and make the Guild an ever more effective force of bringing Christ’s light to the world. 

I see two primary areas of focus for our efforts: the big issues and building community.  The big issues include, though are certainly not limited to abortion, physician-assisted suicide/euthanasia, surrogacy, transgender ideology, and freedom of conscience (particularly in the healthcare professions).  With the Catholic principle of subsidiarity in mind, my hope is to position the Guild as a local leader in promoting a culture of life in light of Catholic teaching.  We will address these big issues though speaking events, journal clubs, lobbying of local and state legislators, and regional meetings in collaboration with our fellow New York Guilds of the Catholic Medical Association. 

Actively engaging our community on the big issues is certainly necessary, though unlikely to be effective without also building community.  I can testify from personal experience that as a practicing Catholic in the modern medical world it is very easy to become isolated.  The Guild is well-positioned to offer a forum for Catholics to find, and offer, support in what is often a daily struggle to stay true to the Church’s teachings in their professional lives.  To this end we will continue Catholics @ URMC meetings, collaborate with the Newman Community at the U of R, establish a mentorship program, organize speaking events and quarterly journal clubs, among other opportunities, all in hopes of sustaining a robust community of Catholic healthcare professionals and interested members of the public. 

St. Paul tells us that “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,” (Romans 5:12-21).  In our modern world that seems to have come unmoored from its traditional anchors, I fully expect that the Holy Spirit, though the intersession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is providing graces more than sufficient for our needs, we need only ask.  So please join me in praying for the success of the Finger Lakes Guild in the coming years! 

I would like to make special note of our growing collaboration with St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry.  They have been extremely welcoming and supportive…and the FLG is excited to now have a physical home at St. Bernard’s!  We look forward to a long and fruitful collaboration!

I would also like to especially thank The Most Rev. Salvatore R. Matano for his support of the Finger Lakes Guild.  We are blessed to have such a wonderfully devoted shepherd for our diocese, and I look forward to continuing to work with him during my time as President.

If you would like more information about the Guild, or to become a member, please see our membership, sponsorship, and upcoming events pages.  I hope to see you at our next event!

In closing, please join me in asking for the intersession of our Blessed Mother, Health of the Sick, and Comfort of the Afflicted…Pray for Us!

In Christ,

Thomas Carroll, MD, PhD

President, Finger Lakes Guild

Welcome Back Mass @ U of R

Thank you to everyone who made this weekend’s Welcome Back Mass at the Interfaith Chapel at the U of R a huge success!  We had a great turnout including members of the community, med students, residents, fellows, and attendings!

We now have a slew of new members and we’re excited to have each of you join the Guild!

Thank you especially to Fr. Cool and the Newman staff for making this possible!

Welcome back mass at U of R 2019-8-25.jpg

U of R Welcome Back Mass

Please join us this Sunday (8/25) for 10:30am Mass at the Interfaith Chapel at U of R!

A picnic, co-sponsored by the Newman Community and the Guild, will immediately follow Mass.

This is a great opportunity to share worship, fellowship, and food with U of R students (undergrad, medical, and graduate), faculty, staff, local physicians and the community at large.

Thank You – Catholics @ URMC

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Catholics @ URMC meeting today!

We had a great conversation about living an authentically Catholic life while working in healthcare.

We hope to see you at our next meeting, which will be September 19th

If you are not able to physically join us at URMC, we do have the ability to video conference.  If you’d like to know more please contact us here.