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Physicians and the (Woman's) Body Politic

Item

Title

Physicians and the (Woman's) Body Politic

Creator

Date

2014

Bibliographic Citation

370 N. Engl. J. Med. 193 (January 16, 2014)

Abstract

This publication examines the pattern of legislative and judicial misrepresentation and misuse of medical information in the pursuit of partisan aims regarding women and pregnancy. Pregnant women and their physicians have been subject to intense attention by courts and legislators who have misused medical information and have acted as arbiters of medical knowledge. Additionally, in the context of abortion, States have enacted legislation forcing physicians to provide biased counseling or inaccurate information under the guise of "informed consent." This publication describes the story of a pregnant Wisconsin woman, a former drug user, who stopped using her anti-addiction medication in cooperation with her doctor. She was ultimately ordered by the state to resume using the medication and was arrested when she declined. Although she was found to not be using any drugs, she was committed to a facility based on erroneous assumptions about fetal endangerment. Unfortunately, the Wisconsin woman's arrest and incarceration are consistent with a long history of legislative and judicial misrepresentation of medical information.

SSRN URL

Keywords

Abortion
Pregnancy
Drug Abuse
Medical Ethics
Legislation

Rights

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