Janurary/Feburary, 1999 Volume XIII Number 4

A new look at informed consent

by Mike Richmond

Some pro-lifers may think I am a traitor to our cause by advocating that abortion clinics be exempted from informed consent laws. My logic is compelling: if the chief United States law enforcement officer (president and moral leader, William J. Clinton) can be exempted from laws (e.g. perjury), why not whole categories of medical treatment also?

Of what value are informed medical consent laws anyhow? Clearly, medical doctors always know best and patients (such as young females) should not worry their 'pretty little heads' about such trivialities as increased breast cancer risk.
Also, most seventeen-year olds are trained medical epidemiologists, who know that a woman who has a first birth at age 30 has a 57% greater risk of breast cancer (compared to a first birth at age 17 years).
In the past I have been 'blind' to the wisdom of the radical new concept of informed medical consent advocated by Planned Parenthood: only inform women of medical risks that have been conclusively proven to cause an adverse side effect 100% of the time!
If it is shown (i.e. accepted risk) that using hormone replacement therapy increases (relative) breast cancer risk by 50%, should women be informed?
NO! The absolute risk of contracting BC is still not 100%. Thus, by 'P3' (Planned Parenthood Proposal), absolutely no warning must be even hinted at.
There is a very useful side-benefit to 'P3': less people on Planet Earth. Only people of the 'right type' should populate Planet Earth and who cares what happens to the ('dysgenic') rest? Planned Parenthood founder, Margaret Sanger has 'set us straight' on that matter.
Is it by pure luck that black neighborhoods have a disproportionate number of abortion clinics?
Counter argument: Some unenlightened pro-lifers may oppose my new position by arguing as follows:

1. United States court decisions have validated the legal concept that a medical doctor has a legal duty to protect a woman's health (Abortion Malpractice, David Reardon).
2. An adult patient of sound mind has the right to determine what should be done to his or her body. Because of this right, a physician has the duty to inform the patient about those dangers that "are material" to the patient's decision (Opinion in Canterbury v. Spence, Biomedical Ethics, Third Edition, T Mappes, J Zembaty, pp. 88-91).
3. The vast majority of induced abortion surgeries are elective operations which have a much higher standard of informed consent than non-elective procedures.
4. Q.E.D. warnings about breast cancer, suicide, ovarian cancer, etc. must be listed on the abortion consent form.

To all this, I say: get with it and prepare for the new millennium. In fact, current abortion consent forms provide too many warnings.
Do abortions always cause bleeding, infection and punctured uteri? No, and unless an induced abortion always causes a specific side-effect, it must not be listed! "P3" forever!

What should an abortion consent form be?
A blank sheet of paper except for the line: Date:______ Signature:_____.
The woman simply 'dates' and signs the form and a blank check and hands both to the friendly receptionist.
What about informed medical consent for men?
If I advocated 'P3' for male operations such as cosmetic surgery, I would be tarred and feathered. Best to stick with 'P3' for young (and often scared) females. They're 'available' and disposable, aren't they?
In sum, 'choice' for women but never INFORMED 'choice.'

A painful experience?
Writing even a short essay such as this, with a very stiff tongue stuck in one's left cheek is indeed a painful experience.
Informed medical consent for men only!

Potpourri (or Niggling Things revisited)
A new look at informed consent
The Pro-Life Movement is dead!
Who Stands Fast?