A federal court will hear arguments over North Dakota's informed consent statute – and an attorney arguing for the statute is suggesting that physicians who oppose the statute are violating their Hippocratic Oath.
"Every woman should have the information she needs to make the healthiest choices for herself and everyone involved in an unexpected pregnancy, and that's what North Dakota's law does," says attorney Denise Harle of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the law firm representing Heartbeat International in North Dakota.
"North Dakota's law requires doctors to tell women critical information before women undergo the abortion procedure – specifically that abortion will terminate a life of a separate, unique, whole living human being; and if she's undergoing chemical abortion, that may be reversible if she acts quickly."
The attorney says both of those are true, accurate, relevant pieces of information to the procedure.
The American Medical Association (AMA) opposes the law, saying it amounts to forced speech. Acting as the plaintiff in the case, the AMA is asking the federal court to strike down the law.
"We're talking about the AMA, which calls itself the organized voice of medicine, actually fighting against informed consent to medical procedures, and that should really shock all of us," says Harle. "It just shows that the AMA has taken on a political, pro-abortion position where it really should be following its ethical duty to heal, to do no harm, and to protect patients."
How does this compare with National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA) v. Becerra? That was an abortion-related case where pro-life pregnancy centers won at the Supreme Court on free speech grounds. ADF represented NIFLA at the Supreme Court.
"NIFLA said it reaffirms that states can and should require physicians to ensure that women undergoing abortion are given informed consent – and that means that abortion doctors can be required, should be required to provide truthful, accurate, relevant information to the procedure … and that's all we're talking about here," Harle explains.
"It's scientifically indisputable that abortion ends the life of a separate human being with its own unique DNA and it's … scientifically accurate that chemical abortions can [be] and are reversed through the application of the abortion pill reversal, and so this is accurate and scientific information that North Dakota simply wants its women to have."
Heartbeat International has affiliated pregnancy centers in North Dakota. It also operates the international Abortion Pill Rescue Network.
The case is being heard in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota Western Division.