Unethical laws in Oklahoma

  1. Link
    Withholding test results from patients?
    Publishing patient information online?
    Forcing procedures and propaganda on patients?

    Is this constitutional? I know it's not ethical, it violates both patient autonomy and confidentiality. If I were a doctor (or a woman) in Oklahoma, I would be moving somewhere else, fast. How is a pregnant woman to properly prepare for a handicapped child if information about defects is withheld because she might decide to get an abortion. How is a family to choose a pediatric neurosurgeon for a child with spina bifida (for example), if that information is withheld from them?

    I don't want this to turn into an anti-life/anti-choice discussion, but rather to focus on whether this is constitutional and/or ethical. This isn't even pro-life anymore, putting the information online is all about slut-shaming, plain and simple.
  2. jcsd
  3. It's almost The Onion in real life.
  4. A law requiring that personal medical information be published online would certainly seem to violate the right to privacy. I do not believe that the law can compel a doctor to violate confidentiality without good reason. The requirement to answer certain questions may be valid but only so long as they serve a legitimate purpose otherwise they can come under easy attack for violation of privacy. I am unsure about withholding test results. Obviously if withholding such information could endanger the child or the mother it would be shot down in a heart beat. Otherwise it could probably be argued that if one submits to and/or pays for a test that they are legally entitled to the results by implicit contract.
  5. Interesting. A story about Oklahoma, in a website from Australia.
  6. There are other sources, this was just the first one I found. Anything relevant to the discussion?
  7. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/21/oklahoma-abortion-united-states-bill
    Hardly medically relevant.

    In small communities this information is probably enough to individually identify a woman, despite omitting the name.
  8. Char. Limit

    Char. Limit 1,937
    Gold Member

    If they're going to ignore the basic human right to privacy anyway, why even bother with all of these other laws? Just ban it then. Oklahoma pols are illogical here...

    And I believe withholding test results is actually quite illegal.
  9. My thoughts exactly. I don't see any purpose in this other than humiliation.
  10. The information will show that poor, white/black people have more abortions than upper class people. No need to ask 38 questions to find out of someone is white trash or not.
  11. Any thoughts on whether any of these will hold up if challenged in court? I'm not in the US, so I don't know that much about the court system.
  12. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,122
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    It has no chance of surviving legal review.
  13. Char. Limit

    Char. Limit 1,937
    Gold Member

    If the person is actually a slut, she probably won't care. Of course, most people who are named "slut" actually aren't, so I'm not sure the above word really applies.
  14. From the perspective of fundamentalists, anyone who has sex outside of marriage is a slut. The goals of these laws is not to preserve the life of a foetus, but rather to make sure that women are punished for having sex.
  15. Are there any precedents?
  16. Ivan Seeking

    Ivan Seeking 12,122
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I'm sure there are. While I don't know of any specifics, this flies in the face of so many cherished American values that I can say with confidence it will never stand. Cities and States try to pass all sort of crazy laws which are then shot down by the courts. It is very common.

    We have a bunch of nannies who try to pass ridiculous laws here in Oregon as well. By the time one hears about them, they're well on their way to being overturned by a court. My favorite was the law allowing police to pull you over if they think you might be going to commit a crime!
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2010
  17. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Off topic posts deleted. Let's stay within the guidelines set forth in the OP.
  18. At this point in time, abortion is a legal elective medical procedure. If you wish to debate that topic, please start another thread, and I will debate that with you there.

    The only one of the questions cited in the guardian article I linked to which could possibly have medical relevance for someone who elects to have an abortion is the question on prior pregnancies (though I'm not a doctor, so I don't know for sure that even that one has any relevance). I don't see how anyone could argue that any of the other questions listed (does anyone know where we could find the details of all the questions?) are anything other than an invasion of the woman's privacy. Posting the results of those questions online is a breech of doctor-patient confidentiality.

    I don't know how any doctor who goes along with this will be able to sleep at night.
  19. If they're intending to use the information for a study, then they should conduct the study ethically, with proper approval from the appropriate authorities (I don't know what the regulations on medical studies are in the states, but I'm reasonably certain it's considered unethical, even South of the 49th, to force people to participate in a study).

    Further, removing patient names alone is not sufficient to anonymise the data.
  20. Evo

    Staff: Mentor

    Actually, let's not start a thread on abortion again, because it ends up in a flame war, everyone gets infractions and the thread is locked. Let's say we did and don't.

    If you want to get worked up about the subject, just re-read one of the many locked threads on it.

    Thank you!
  21. Found it:
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