When Emily was only 19, she discovered that she was pregnant. Feeling scared and alone, she thought that abortion was her only option.
Emily drove to a Planned Parenthood where she was given two abortion-inducing pills. But what she wasn’t given was all the relevant information.
Of course, she was never told how the pills would affect her unborn child. The first pill would cut off nutrients to her developing baby and the second pill would induce premature contractions. She was never told what stage of development her child had reached. And she was never told that the effects of the first pill could be reversed using an FDA-approved drug.
Unfortunately, Emily’s experience is all too common.
That’s why state legislators in North Dakota passed laws that require abortion providers to give women like Emily vital information. For instance, women must be told the scientific reality that abortion ends “the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being” before she undergoes the life-ending procedure.
Abortion providers must also tell women that “it may be possible to reverse the effects of an abortion-inducing drug if she changes her mind, but time is of the essence.”
Giving women this information before an abortion makes total sense. It is scientifically indisputable that every human life starts at the moment of conception—when an unborn child has its own unique DNA and, like all children, simply needs time and nutrients to continue growing.
Additionally, every doctor performing medical care needs to obtain a patient’s “informed consent.” That requires ensuring that patients have all the relevant information. According to the American Medical Association (AMA) website, “informed consent to medical treatment is fundamental in both ethics and law.”
And yet, the AMA is challenging North Dakota laws requiring that women be given this important information.
The AMA is Putting Politics Ahead of Women
As it tries to strike down North Dakota’s informed consent laws, the AMA is mischaracterizing the NIFLA v. Becerra decision the Supreme Court issued just last year. It is also mischaracterizing abortion pill reversal—a method used by medical doctors successfully in more than 900 cases—as “unethical.”
The AMA also mislabels as “unscientific” the reality that abortion ends “the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”
There must be another reason behind the AMA’s challenge to North Dakota’s laws. A woman who knows the many dangerous risks of abortion, what the abortion will do to her child and to herself, and her options as a parent is far more likely to choose life for her child.
Clearly, the AMA’s challenge is purely political. It goes directly against the Supreme Court’s decision in NIFLA v. Becerra, which affirmed that states can freely enact laws ensuring informed consent to abortion by requiring doctors to give truthful, relevant information to women. That’s exactly what North Dakota’s laws do.
But, even more so, it’s disturbing that the AMA—which calls itself the “organized voice of medicine”—is challenging a law that gives key information to women seeking a chemical abortion. This should shock us all. And it could harm women like Emily who deserve to know about all their options.
This is why Heartbeat International, a worldwide network of pregnancy centers with affiliates in North Dakota, asked a federal court to allow it to intervene in this case. And on November 26, 2019, the court granted its request.
Since 2003, Heartbeat International has operated a hotline to connect women to local pregnancy centers. And, since 2018, the organization has operated an abortion pill reversal hotline. And it has already helped hundreds of women—including Emily.
After arriving home from Planned Parenthood, Emily and her sister found Heartbeat International’s hotline after frantically searching the internet. A hotline nurse connected Emily to a local healthcare provider who helped her reverse the effects of the first abortion pill she took. And several months later, Emily gave birth to her son.
Emily’s story has a happy ending. But many women are not given the vital information they deserve to know before they undergo an abortion. If the AMA really believes in women’s right to choose, why are they fighting to hide information from them?