Regardless of how one feels about abortion, there are real concerns about legislators from any state "saying what you and your doctor should and shouldn't be talking about in the exam room," and there are valid cases where women need to have surgery to save their lives, Trump administration Surgeon General Jerome Adams told Newsmax on Wednesday, using his wife as an example.
"I am a husband," Adams, now the executive director of health equity initiatives at Purdue University, said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America." "[There is] ectopic pregnancy, and my wife had to have surgery for that pregnancy. I'm really concerned that some states want to say that's illegal. I absolutely think women need to be able to have surgery to save their lives in certain situations, and we don't want to outlaw that from happening because that can put people like my own wife at risk."
From a public health perspective, though, there are ways to lower abortion rates, including increasing education and job training opportunities to lower poverty, said Adams.
"We know that with women who get abortions, one out of seven of them say they do it to continue their education," Adams said. "But there are all sorts of public health implications to this discussion that we need to be considering and talking about, instead of just focusing on the downstream choice. It's an unfortunate choice, no matter which way you slice it."
Even with the news that the Supreme Court could be ready for a vote to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, Gallup polls have consistently shown that Americans support the right for abortion in almost all cases but many do believe that there should be a cutoff date for the procedure.
Adams said if laws are to be passed that prohibit abortions past a certain time in a pregnancy, then states need to be sure that "doctors, medical professionals, and scientists are helping define that," not legislators.
"You've got people who have other agendas and they're giving their scientific opinions, and saying things that most obstetricians and gynecologists don't believe to be true," said Adams.
Adams also on Wednesday discussed the recommendation from U.S. health officials that people should continue to wear masks on airplanes and other forms of transportation and said mandates are not inherently bad, but the way they are carried out can be.
"Mandates are the reason why we can swim safely in public pools and the reason why people at restaurants have to wash their hands after they use bathrooms before they serve your food," he said. "I do think that we went a little heavy-handed with mandates in many places, and we didn't explain to people why mandates were necessary as well as we could have or should have. We also didn't roll them back when the data suggested that they should have been in all cases. We have to own that."
Masking does work to prevent the spread of COVID-19, however, Adams said, "especially when you use a high-quality N95 mask."
He added that when travels, he wears one of the high-quality masks on the plane and at the airport.
"You can still wear a mask out of compassion, even if you're not mandated to do it," said Adams. "The discussion is about the science and about caring for one another, and not about whether or not the government should be telling you to do something."
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