We trust women to make the best reproductive health care decisions for themselves and their families — including the decision to terminate a pregnancy. Women shouldn’t have to face judgment and shame when accessing abortion care, and no one should be lied to about their health care.
Anti-choice lawmakers force their opinions on women seeking abortion care by requiring doctors to give patients anti-choice propaganda full of inaccuracies about pregnancy and the dangers of abortion.
These laws are an insult to women, implying that they cannot make their own decisions, and a gross infringement on the doctor-patient relationship.
Since 2003, the Minnesota “Woman’s Right to Know” Act has dictated the conversation between doctors and their patients seeking abortion care. Among other things, the law requires doctors to:
- describe the risks of abortion, including “risks of infection, hemorrhage, breast cancer, danger to subsequent pregnancies, and infertility.”1 In reality, exhaustive studies and extensive research have shown no association between abortion and any kind of cancer or infertility, and the complication rate of first trimester abortions is less than 0.5%.2
- describe the “capacity [of the fetus] to experience organic pain;”
- provide a list of resources for “abortion alternatives” — including fake women’s health centers, whose sole purpose is to prevent women from having an abortion.
While anti-choice politicians try to justify these laws by talking about “informed consent,” we know the truth: they’re designed to discourage women from choosing abortion.
This kind of bias counseling is often paired with a mandatory delay. Here in Minnesota, for example, women have to hear all this from their doctor at least 24 hours before their appointment. Politicians say they want to make sure women have time to think about their decision — but what they really want is to make it more difficult for women to access the care they’ve already chosen.
Women considering abortion — like all patients — should get full and unbiased information from their doctor about their medical options. They should not instead be subjected to biased propaganda and forced to wait unnecessarily before accessing the health care they need.