Bioethics Discussion Blog: South Dakota Abortion Law: Informed Consent or Political Manipulation?

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

South Dakota Abortion Law: Informed Consent or Political Manipulation?



Read the graphic above (click to enlarge) and then read the free full
Perspective article in the November 20 2008 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, where the graphic was extracted. In addition, here is another extract from the article explaining the history of the law:

Under a law that went into effect in July, physicians in South Dakota must tell any woman seeking an abortion that she is terminating the life of "a whole, separate, unique, living human being" with whom she has an "existing relationship," that her relationship "enjoys protection under the United States Constitution and under the laws of South Dakota," and that abortion terminates that relationship along with "her existing constitutional rights with regards to that relationship."1 The "informed-consent" law was passed in 2005 but was immediately suspended by an injunction sought by Planned Parenthood, which operates the only South Dakota clinic providing abortions. On June 27, 2008, in Planned Parenthood Minnesota v. Rounds, a divided Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted the injunction, clearing the way for implementation.


The article,describing the law,tells us what is unique, arbitrary, undocumented, and what I think is potentially and unnecessarily stressful for both the woman and the physician. The law itself, as written, shows us how politicians can change the informed consent function of the doctor-patient relationship into informed state moral policy. Instead of taking the proper route of challenging Roe vs Wade as unconstitutional and overturning the previous Supreme Court decision by a vote of the United States public, the politicians are attempting to subvert something which, at present, is constitutional by creating a purposely heavy burden for the physician to bear and the woman to accept in order for an abortion to be carried out. It puts the interests of outsiders wrongly into the doctor-patient relationship. This is my opinion. Read the article and come back and let's read yours. ..Maurice.

5 Comments:

At Monday, December 01, 2008 11:12:00 PM, Anonymous Mr. MS1 said...

What I also fail to see directly mentioned is the consequences of essentially persuading the patient into believing that what she is choosing is immoral. They state that the psychological well-being of the patient is paramount, but at the same time go through this harassment without regards to the circumstances of the pregnancy. This is directly breaking the obligation for non-maleficence. What is next a mandated brochure including cute small children, little babies or cartoons of the fetus resting 'happily in the nurturing mother's womb'? The pro-choice side has never claimed that this was an easy choice and the role of the physician should be giving the best guidance through genuine and sincere informed consent. As a smaller aside there is also a deceptive use of language as 'statistically significant' certainly doesn't equal 'clinically significant'. Finally, even though I try to be an optimist I can't imagine that only 700 patients in South Dakota are in dire enough circumstances where an abortion becomes a preferred outcome. Sadly I think that these sort of measures are working, and future evidence of a possible decreased rate of abortion by 'informed consent' will only encourage those lobbying for such conditions.

I also don't know if you have covered this before, but have you talked about whether state funds such as medicare should support procedures that terminate pregnancies?

 
At Wednesday, December 03, 2008 10:12:00 PM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

Mr. MS1, it wouldn't be Medicare (paying for citizens over the age of 64 or certain permanently disabled) that would be related to your question, but it would be Medicaid, providing, with the states, medical care to those with low incomes.

From the National Abortion Federation:

After Roe v. Wade decriminalized abortion in 1973,
Medicaid covered abortion care without restriction.
In 1976, Representative Henry Hyde (R-IL)
introduced an amendment that later passed to limit
federal funding for abortion care. Effective in 1977,
this provision, known as the Hyde Amendment,
specifies what abortion services are covered under
Medicaid.


Go to the link to read about the current status of the Hyde Amendment and which states allow what. ..Maurice.

 
At Thursday, February 12, 2009 10:09:00 PM, Anonymous zuzuskulz@hotmail.com said...

Hello.Wow! Perhaps its beginning, a new age of intelligence. Could I be so bold as to say; perhaps the individual of "we the people" is ready to step out of the cover of the masses and take the responsibilty of his/her individual action. Could I be even bolder and say: There are 3 people involved in each abortion, the "makers" ( a male human-being and a female human-being)and the "takers"(dr.'s, or in cases outlayed in the S.D.law;"we the people"). I would love to be really bold and say;finally, "we the people" realize; the abortion-issue is the same as all of our "society-ills". And it has the same simple answer: Remove the nescesity for the destruction of human life. Obviously abortion is the absolute last choice any female creature should have to be given.Even more ridiculas is the idea abortion is an effective form of birth-control.Equally dispicable is the notion that the state should be sanctioning the termination of life in any form,a fetus,a child,a woman,a man,a community,for socio-economic reasons!What an incredibly vile concept. Change the bloody choice. Stand up for what is right. The Constitution, the laws of freedom-justice, "liberty-egality", were written to create a better world for All. For the very same reaons the Ten Commandments were written,in stone! The very fabric of the greatest nation has been perverted by a powerful evil that has caused some men/women in our midst to fiddle-faddle these laws in order to pursue individual profits above all else. If just one poor girl child can be helped by this new law to an option other than the destruction of her own child, then perhaps a new era of happiness is in store for the people of the State of South Dakota! Perhaps they will be encouraged to use thier democratic right to form committies to look into the creation of a thousand "choices" other than abortion. I can think of 10 viable options off the top of my head right now!And perhaps they can find in in thier hearts/minds/souls to go one step further and recognize that it takes a male and a female to create a human life naturally.Perhaps its time the fellas took responsibility for their sperm! Why should the female and "we the people" bear the burden of forfitting our immortal souls because too many irresponsible males wanna get jiggy. I mean please, please lets finally address the realities of "choice". Whee, now a days sex sells and sells and sells and just keeps on selling. No profit in "kids". Oh poor stupid mankind. When will you see. Bye.

 
At Thursday, March 05, 2009 4:22:00 PM, Blogger The Great Fox Hating Potentate said...

Ummm, ignoring completely the misspelled and rabidly anxious reply above; I think a woman choosing abortion has already weighed the pros and cons of the procedure. Fully detailing any possible complications as well as making a very legally and morally sketchy assumption about the human status of a fetus is punitive, unnecessary, and ultimately psychologically abusive to the patient. The only reason I can see to enforce this law is to allow pompous ingrates to have direct, negative effects on those they feel to be morally inferior.

 
At Saturday, October 03, 2009 10:09:00 AM, Blogger Maurice Bernstein, M.D. said...

To read more about the ethics of a state legislature encroaching into the process of informed consent between a patient and physician and the ethical implications of the physician following the script of the legislature, go the the following link and read the essay by Minkoff and Marshall in the September-October 2009 issue of The Hastings Center Report. ..Maurice.

 

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