Do you trust your doctor to tell you everything so you can make an informed decision? I used to, but now I am no longer sure. The AZ Senate passed a bill (#1359) yesterday that says doctors are allowed to keep information about a woman’s pregnancy to themselves if the doctor thinks that information might cause a woman to get an abortion AND a woman cannot sue the doctor for withholding the information.
Yes, you read that right. Can you imagine the harm such a bill could cause? Doctors will have even less incentive to be truthful about a woman’s health situation than they already do. More people die from medical malpractice than any other cause and the majority of those don’t get sued or even have their licenses taken away. And those numbers don’t include unreported cases of malpractice. In the end Women will stop trusting that the doctor has her best interests in mind. Women could choose to bring a baby into the world not knowing it is deformed or impaired in some way. The cost of caring for more babies with more unexpected problems will be economically hard on families and unpaid costs will get dumped on hospitals who will in turn increase what they charge, etc, etc, until everyone will end up paying even more for our lousy insurance. Worse yet is the potential for the loss of life. If a woman’s life is in danger but The doctor doesn’t tell the woman or the husband and they unknowingly have the child, the mother could die. Fellas, is that okay with you? Or the alternative…the baby’s life is in danger and the parents don’t exercise the appropriate amount of caution for the situation and the baby dies. And finally both the mother and child could die and the grieving spouse would have no recourse whatsoever.
But on the most basic level this proposed law violates a VERY important concept in the medical profession-patient autonomy–the doctors would be playing God. And that will cause harm to occur to female patients, their babies and the families involved. Make no mistake about…a doctor not telling all of the information good and bad to a pregnant woman can and WILL result in harm. Here is just one part of the Hippocratic Oath that all physicians take.
Most especially must I tread with care in matters of life and death. If it is given to me to save a life, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to take a life; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty. Above all, I must not play at God.
If the American Medical Association does not oppose this bill I will be very surprised and incredibly angry. I have a long list of people and organizations to call about this atrocious bill. If you would like to weigh in too here’s some important contact information:
- My Online Petition to Stop this Bill
- Nancy Barto, Republican of Phoenix, proposed the bill
- Andy Tobin (Rep), Speaker of the House where the bill will next be voted on and the last chance to stop it before it can become law
- http://az.gov/app/govinfo/ Go here to find out who your state senator and representative are and contact them
- David Landrith, VP of the Arizona Medical Association, they should be all over this but if they aren’t it will help to let them know how we feel