Human Exceptionalism

Hastings Center Article Opposes “Scripted” Medical Counseling

A blog article over at the Hastings Center opposes legislation that “scripts” what doctors must say during medical counseling. From the column by Howard Minkoff and Mary Faith Marshall, “Government-Scripted Consent: When Medical Ethics and Law Collide” (registration required):

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) Committee on Ethics has noted that “free consent is an intentional and voluntary choice that authorizes someone else to act in certain ways . . . Consenting freely is incompatible with [a patient] being coerced or unwillingly pressured by forces beyond herself. It involves the ability to choose among options and to select a course other than what may be recommended.” Though physicians’ beliefs may be legitimate bases for recommendations, physicians are expected to avoid manipulation or coercion. However, potential for undue bias exists even when physicians frame their counseling carefully, since their choice of words, of emphasis, and even of body language unwittingly transmits bias.

So, this is against the end of life counseling in the House version of Obamacare, right?  Of course it isn’t!  It is about a South Dakota law requiring abortionists to tell women that their fetus is a distinct human being:

A recently enacted policy in South Dakota threatens to abrogate the process described above; a consent discussion grounded in dogmatic and uncompromising ideological speech is now the de jure standard in that state. Several articles have focused the medical community’s attention on these newly implemented requirements, which include a script that must be given to a woman prior to abortions. The script asserts, among other things, that the fetus is “a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” It also requires the physician to give the patient a description of all known medical risks of the procedure and statistically significant risk factors to which the pregnant woman would be subjected, including depression and related psychological distress and increased risk of suicidal ideation and suicide—none of which has been scientifically substantiated. In addition, a statement is required that sets forth an accurate rate of deaths due to abortions, including all deaths in which the abortion procedure was a significant contributing factor, and all other known medical risks to the physical health of the woman, including the risk of infection, hemorrhage, danger to subsequent pregnancies, and infertility. The probable gestational age of the fetus at the time the abortion is to be performed and a scientifically accurate statement describing the development of the fetus at that stage must be shared as well.

I don’t know anything about the SD law other than that the authors don’t like it.  But what about Obamacare end of life counseling scripting in HB 3200?   They’re against that too, right?  I might have missed it, but I haven’t seen any objections to that scripted counseling provision–required to be followed if providers want to be compensated for their discussion–from these authors in specific, or the Hastings Center, in general. 

Huh: Go figure.

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