Doctors Against Anti-Abortion Laws: the Beginning of a Movement?

Last week, in the midst of a heartbreaking story about a woman who fell victim to Texas’ mandatory ultrasound law, we heard about the unwilling doctor forced to do the procedure:

“I’m so sorry that I have to do this,” the doctor told us, “but if I don’t, I can lose my license.”

“When you come back in 24 hours, the legal side is over. Then we’ll care for you and give you the information you need in the way we think is right.”

Then on Saturday, PalmD at WhiteCoatUnderground posted this:

“Doctors are notoriously poor organizers.  We generally operate independently.  The AMA represents less than thirty percent of American doctors.  When it comes to protecting ourselves and our patients, we are often on our own.  When it comes to the latest abortion bills we cannot afford to remain apart.  We must all speak out against this violation of our ethics and our patients’ rights.  How this might work isn’t clear, but perhaps we need target certain states, one at a time.  When one provider is shut down for honoring their patients’ rights, another must be willing to step up, and another.  There is a nationwide shortage of abortion providers so this probably isn’t realistic, but even so, we must try, we must advocate for our patients, we must defend them from the depravities of those who would violate their basic right to ethical, respectful care.”

Finally, yesterday, Anonymous Doctor at John Scalzi’s blog called for doctors across the country to engage in civil disobedience and refuse to perform mandatory ultrasounds:

“It is our responsibility, as always, to protect our patients from things that would harm them. Therefore, as physicians, it is our duty to refuse to perform a medical procedure that is not medically indicated. Any medical procedure. Whatever the pseudo-justification.

It’s time for a little old-fashioned civil disobedience.

When the community has failed a patient by voting an ideologue into office…When the ideologue has failed the patient by writing legislation in his own interest instead of in the patient’s…When the legislative system has failed the patient by allowing the legislation to be considered… When the government has failed the patient by allowing something like this to be signed into law… We as physicians cannot and must not fail our patients by ducking our heads and meekly doing as we’re told.

Because we are their last line of defense.”

We need more doctors to take a stand–to speak out, to share their stories, to call for and organize action. While the most important voices in this struggle remain the women who are affected by this anti-choice, anti-autonomy, anti-woman legislation, we need our doctors to speak up as well. We’re in this together.

If you’re a doctor, and would like to share your story, or your own call for action, I am glad to offer this space for you to speak. Contact me at brittanyannwick AT yahoo DOT com, if you would like to share your story, or if you already have on another website, send me the link–I’d like to share it.

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About Brittany-Ann
Brittany-Ann is a proud, self-identified feminist with fictional tendencies. She currently writes for LouisvilleKY.com and moderates at My Fault I'm Female. She smokes camels, reads Dumas, and navigates a conservative state as "one of them darn liberals."

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