Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Are South Dakota's Current Abortion Laws Hurting Doctors?

By Shawn Vuong

While many South Dakotans are glad we are done with "Initiative 11" Zita Lazzarini thinks South Dakota has already taken it too far.  Today in the NEJM, Lazzarini says that the current law that was passed in 2005 known as the "abortion script" threatens the physician-patient relationship.

At one level this type of law pushes our state's beliefs onto doctors and patients.  Also, the abortion script may actually be keeping doctors from giving scientifically based information to allow for an informed consent.  Lastly, Lazzarini says that if we let the states push it this far, what's next?  Who knows what other ethical dilemmas the state will try to push onto doctors & patients.  

If legislatures can mandate that physicians provide women with ideological, vague, intimidating, and false information about abortion, what is to stop them from intruding further into physician–patient discussions regarding end-of-life decisions, the use of future stem-cell–basedtherapeutics, the efficacy of birth control, or the role of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted infections?

How important is the doctor-patient relationship to you?  Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life should not make a difference in this issue.  Imagine that you are in the hospital with your loved ones, and the doctor was mandated to tell you and make you sign paperwork that the end-of-life decisions you and your loved ones are making are wrong.  

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