Misleading

Doctors battle state law that forces them to mislead patients

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The AMA has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of North Dakota legal provisions forcing physicians to violate the AMA Code of Medical Ethics and act as mouthpieces for politically motivated messages that are misleading and could lead to patient harm.

A provision set to take effect Aug. 1 would force North Dakota physicians to tell women “that it may be possible to reverse the effect of an abortion-inducing drug if she changes her mind, but time if of the essence, and information and assistance with reversing the effects of an abortion-inducing drug are available” in government-printed materials to be given to the patients.

The provision would “compel physicians and their agents to speak government-mandated messages that entail providing to their patients misleading or even patently false, nonmedical information with which they disagree,” says a complaint filed by the AMA and other plaintiffs.

The AMA is filing the lawsuit in partnership with the Center for Reproductive Rights in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota, in Bismarck. They are filing the lawsuit on behalf of the Red River Women’s Clinic, and the clinic’s medical director, AMA member Kathryn Eggleston, MD, as co-plaintiffs.

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