Republicans Begin Requiring Doctors Lie To Patients About Existence Of ‘Abortion Reversal’ Pill

Part of the Hippocratic Oath that every doctor must take requires them to vow to “reject harm and mischief.” Put another way: A doctor should never allow harmful or unscientific nonsense to get in the way of treating their patients with the best possible medical procedures. Put an even simpler way: Republicans should stay out of the hospital room.

In South Dakota, Republicans are forcing through legislation that would require doctors to directly lie to their patients in order to give them second thoughts about having an abortion. Two other states, Arizona and Arkansas, already have this law in place. It’s the newest trend in anti-abortion measures, instead of targeting the women (which hasn’t worked), they’ll just require doctors to push anti-abortion myths or face losing their jobs.

Specifically, the new law, signed by Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard, will tell doctors that they must inform their patients that they can get an “abortion reversal” pill that will stop abortions in progress and allow them to keep a viable fetus. As Judith Graham at medical blog Stat News notes, the magic pill is psuedoscientific nonsense.

An antiabortion group is promoting model legislation to inform women they can “reverse” medication abortions.

Yet that claim has no solid science behind it — just an anecdotal case report written by a physician who invented a protocol and arranged to have it tested on a half-dozen patients who regretted swallowing the abortion pill.

To put it mildly, the medical community is not cool with being told to lie to their patients about untested medical procedures which may, in fact, harm them.

“As physicians, we can’t just experiment on patients willy-nilly,” said Dr. Daniel Grossman, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco. Doctors offering to undo medical abortions are “essentially testing an unproven, experimental protocol on pregnant women,” he said.

If requiring doctors to use untested drugs on their patients in order to lie to them about having an abortion isn’t doing “harm and mischief”, then what is?

It’s also attempting to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. Despite what anti-abortion activists emphatically insist, the research shows conclusively that virtually no woman who has an abortion regrets it. When a University of California San Francisco School of Medicine study asked over 600 women at facilities across the country how they felt about their decision to have an abortion, more than 95 percent said they felt it was the right thing to do.

“Women overwhelmingly felt abortion was the right decision in both the short-term and over three years, and the intensity of emotions and frequency of thinking about the abortion declined over time,” the study concluded.

It seems that women, far from being doe-eyed “victims” of sinister Planned Parenthood clinics preying on them, actually know what they are doing and do what is right for them, their bodies, and their families. Go figure.

None of this seems to matter to South Dakota Republicans, who have long retreated into superstitious dogma and seem only dimly aware that the scientific community thinks they are ridiculous. Instead of reassessing their beliefs, they are telling doctors to help them promote their misconceptions or else face their wrath. Galileo is probably nodding his head in recognition. An age old problem with a modern-day spin.


Featured image via Flickr