Does life begin at conception? Do women need to see a sonogram to make an informed decision about whether they want an abortion? Some state legislatures believe so. Laws mandating politically driven doctor-patient dialogue affect one of the hallmarks of the physician-patient relationship: a patient’s trust in the physician’s expertise. The common law and statutory requirement that a patient provide informed consent for a medical procedure facilitates the development of trust between patient and physician by allowing the patient to understand the procedure and discuss her options with her physician. However, provisions of abortion-specific informed consent statutes that require physicians to communicate to the patient messages with which the physician disagrees undermine this trust. As opined by one reproductive health physician, “[T]he doctor-patient relationship is based on trust – and how does a patient trust us if we’re giving them false information because we have to?”
Michael J. Essma,
Speech as Speech: “Professional Speech” and Missouri’s Informed Consent for Abortion Statute,
84 Mo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.missouri.edu/mlr/vol84/iss2/8