As We Celebrate Our Independence as a Nation

Last week was a virtual rollercoaster of events and emotions set in motion by whiplashing changes from the Federal government that dominated headlines and conversations.  In one week, people across this country cheered, cried, or both, depending on their personal views on gun control and abortion.

For the first time in three decades, Congress passed meaningful gun control measures and it took less than a week! Beginning with a bipartisan compromise considered by the Senate on Tuesday, passed on Thursday and concurred by the House on Friday, then signed into law by President Joe Biden on Saturday, June 25. The new law is called the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. This legislation will expand the background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21 allowing up to 10 days to examine juvenile records and mental health records.  It also empowers authorities to confiscate guns from any person found by a judge to be dangerous and strengthens laws on gun trafficking.   And the law will close a loophole by banning unmarried partners of domestic abuse victims from buying firearms. The legislation also provides more funding for mental health services in communities and for increased school safety.


Gun violence as a public health epidemic  was recognized by the AAFP in 2018. Last year, IAFP resident physician member Dr. Eric Sullivan authored a resolution (login required) requesting that the AAFP support the creation of a National Bureau for Gun Safety that was referred to the AAFP Committee on Health of the Public and Science.  Family physicians see the effects of gun violence on our patients and in our communities. We care for the survivors' physical and emotional damage, as well as the impact on their loved ones. 

On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade by upholding the ruling of Dobbs vs. Mississippi. As AAFP president Sterling Ransone stated,  “[Separate state laws on access] exacerbates inequities in the healthcare system. These laws disproportionately affect those patients who are underrepresented groups and underserved areas, which already puts them at increased risk of maternal death.” AAFP has promised to continue its advocacy efforts on behalf of patients and physicians for everyone’s right to health care and to protect family physicians from being criminalized for providing evidence-based care and to oppose any policy that allows  government interference in the patient-physician relationship.  We stand firm alongside our national partners in pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, internal medicine and psychiatry  in their joint statement and the American Medical Association who all quickly condemned the ruling.

The Court’s decision threatens the most basic tenets of healthcare—the patient-physician relationship, and practicing evidence-based medicine without threat of punishment, harassment, or retribution. In Illinois, the Reproductive Health Act ensconced the “fundamental right” to terminate a pregnancy in state law. While this continues to be a safe place for women’s reproductive health and physicians, the ruling immediately began taking a toll on women and physicians outside of Illinois. 

In both of these epic issues, family medicine strongly prioritizes the safety and security of our patients as paramount.  

We can always depend on the compassionate, comprehensive care provided by family physicians. This month, about 240 IAFP resident members completed their residency training and now embark on their careers as the next generation of family physicians. I congratulate all of our recent residency graduates and welcome our newest resident members as they begin their training. You are needed, you are valuable and you are valued by your Academy.  

Wishing you a safe and joyful Fourth of July,

Contact Info:

Illinois Academy of Family Physicians

747 E. Boughton Road, Suite 253 - Bolingbook, IL 60440


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