An exam room at the Whole Woman's Health clinic, in McAllen, Texas on March 4, 2014.
Photo by Jennifer Whitney/The New York Times/Redux

Arizona measure would push lies into exam rooms

Updated
For much of the fight over the Affordable Care Act, Republicans condemned the very idea of government putting itself between patients and their physicians. The charge never made much sense as it relates to “Obamacare,” but for GOP policymakers, the principle was all the same: keep politics out of exam rooms.
 
They never meant a word of it.
 
In Kansas a couple of years ago, Republican state lawmakers approved a proposal called the “Women’s Right to Know Act,” which, among other things, required doctors to tell abortion patients that there’s a link between breast cancer and terminating pregnancies. In reality, the National Cancer Institute insists there is no link, but GOP policymakers in Kansas didn’t care. In effect, they mandated state-endorsed lying.
 
As Amanda Marcotte noted yesterday, something similar is unfolding in Arizona.
Doctors in Arizona might soon be required to tell women that abortions can be “reversed.” As the Washington Post reports, the Arizona legislature just passed a bill that is the latest in state-based attempts to ban women from using their own health insurance to pay for abortion. What makes this bill especially Orwellian is this attempt to force doctors to put the stamp of medical authority on the fantastical belief that women en masse are regretting their abortions hours after getting them and are miraculously getting them reversed through heroic interventions by Christian doctors. […]
 
Forcing doctors to “inform” patients about an intervention that isn’t medically useful and isn’t really in demand serves no other purpose but to inject anti-choice histrionics into what is already a stressful situation for many patients. You should be able to get through an abortion without having to indulge a right-wing delusion.
Evidently, Republicans in Arizona’s legislature don’t find this persuasive.
 
To be sure, the state legislation is pretty extreme in its own right, attempting to “block women from purchasing insurance plans through the federal health-care exchanges that cover abortion.” But for proponents of reproductive rights, this junk-science provision makes the bill that much more outrageous.
 
The bill passed both chambers of the Republican-run Arizona legislature this week and is now headed for Gov. Doug Ducey’s (R) desk.
 
It’s hard to think of a more obvious example of big-government conservatism than state-mandated medical lies. As with the Kansas effort a couple of years ago, we’re talking about an Arizona proposal that (a) puts politicians’ rhetoric between patients and physicians; (b) gives instructions to medical professionals as to what they must say, whether the doctors want to or not; and (c) mandates that patients receive information that isn’t scientifically accurate.
 
It’s worth noting that a federal appeals court last year balked at a North Carolina law that required medical professionals to say things to patients the doctors did not want to say, concluding that the First Amendment prohibits physicians from becoming spokespersons for politicians’ rhetoric.
 

Abortion, Arizona, Reproductive Rights and War On Women

Arizona measure would push lies into exam rooms

Updated