Analysis

Kansas abortion clinics not the only ones that are undermining informed consent laws

Embryotomy Scissors abortion

LifeNews posted an article recently about how some Kansas abortion clinics are undermining informed consent laws by adding their own editorial comments to the material. Kansas law requires women to be directed to a website which gives information about her unborn child and provide links to organizations that would help her carry her child to term.

Providing this information allows a woman to make an informed choice about her body and her health. If abortion clinics were truly dedicated to helping women, they would give them all the relevant information to allow them to choose whether or not to have their babies. We know for a fact they do not. 

According to LifeNews, abortion clinics are getting around this law by posting little “disclaimers” on their websites. They give this example of an abortion clinic prefacing the link with the following:

We are being forced by Republicans to use our website resources to say untruthful things about the State’s proLife website in hopes that you will visit their website and change your mind away from abortion. We must have this signage or go to jail. Republicans also don’t believe that rape causes pregnancy, nor ever too many children. They are stupid. Let’s vote them out of office. However, here goes.

It turns out that the abortion clinics cited in the article are not the only ones that try to get around consent laws. For example, an article in the New York Times described how one abortion doctor, who performs roughly 3000 abortions a year, deals with the informed consent requirement:

…he made a few of what he said he felt were corrections. While the state form says ”unborn child,” he says ”the developing pregnancy.’…’This is all basically harassment,” he said.

He also says, in the videotape:

This message is brought to you compliments of your anti-abortion, Republican State Legislature.

According to pro-choice authors Robin Marty, Jessica Mason, and Pieklo Crow:

… [Dr. Curtis Boyd, abortionist] provides the state script, then adds his own thoughts to the end of it.

Boyd says:

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if the state wanted to make an issue of it. You know: “We’ve already told you what you must say; now you can’t say…” I don’t know. They can’t rule that I can’t have an opinion. They have sort of ruled what my opinion must be to the patient, but it doesn’t say clearly you can’t tell the patient you think something differently. So I do it. I think, “Well, they’ll just have to take me to court.” There’s just a limit to how far they can go. I have to salvage my integrity, somehow. So I say, “this is what the state wants me to tell you, and my own belief is that abortion does not cause breast cancer,” and so forth – and that you are quite ethically competent to make this decision. I respect your decision making process. I’ve given you the decision-making process the state wants you to follow.(1)

So we see that a number of abortion providers have been documented undermining informed consent laws. How common this is among abortion providers is not known, but it would not be surprising if many of them try to weasel out of providing informed consent to women. After all, if the woman chooses to have her baby, the clinic makes no money off of her decision.  Every woman should be troubled by the fact that abortion clinics go to such lengths to hide valuable and important information from their patients.

Robin Marty, Jessica Mason Pieklo Crow After Roe (Brooklyn, New York: ig Publishing, 2013) 102 – 103

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