Another Assault on Genuine Informed Consent

By Dave Andrusko

Marcia Angell, MD

You can’t write about everything, unfortunately, when it occurs, but I do try to catch up as quickly as possible . So, here’s a few words about “Where are the doctors,” which appeared recently in USA Today.

This op-ed by Marcia Angell, MD, and Michael Greene, MD, is, not to put too fine a point on it, hysterical. Any and all legislation intended to give mothers a chance to know about who it is they are about to abort or to explain that abortion has subsequent consequences for her is (take your pick) “regressive,” “turning the clock back,” and a “legal assault” which takes the form of legislatures “ordering doctors to lie about the medical evidence, the patient’s condition and their own medical judgment.”

And for good measure, if people of faith resist the Obama mandate, according to Angell and Greene, it is merely  “high-flown rhetoric.” Conscience? It’s about employers and insurers “saving money.”


Once the hysteria is laid on thick, Angell and Greene reinforce their thesis: physicians ought to get up on their hind legs and resist the encroachments. No more silence about “this legal assault, even though it directly interferes with medical practice.”Indeed they counsel individual acts of civil disobedience as “a starting point.”

Coming to the homestretch, Angell and Greene ratchet up the rhetoric. They advise that “The profession as a whole, as represented by its professional organizations [the AMA “and particularly,” the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists] “needs to become involved, so that physicians are not left to fend for themselves.”

Well, it’s no accident, of course, that the President and Vice President of ACOG then send a letter to the editor, agreeing that “Women’s reproductive health is under siege.” Doubtless that was preplanned.

Just two quick comments. First, Angell and Greene are already behind the curve. The “double digit” gender gap is down to 7 points according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll. (And had the poll been conducted properly, the margin would be even smaller.)

Second, the Medical Establishment is not autonomous. There is a role, an important role, for the legislative branch in requiring what advocacy groups such as ACOG would chose to avoid: that there are after-effects from abortion for women and that genuine informed consent requires giving them a chance to know the facts before they make that most final of final decisions: life or death.

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