Arizona Wants Doctors To Lie

SB1318“Arizona wants to force doctors to lie” that is the essence of a lawsuit filed in federal court today on behalf of some Arizona physicians.

The lawsuit is surrounding a recent bill passed in the Arizona legislature, SB 1318, and signed by the governor that requires doctors to tell patients that “it may be possible” to reverse the effects of medical abortion – also known as “plan B.”

The Arizona Legislature and governor feel the law is providing an informed consent of women, and trying to block them from being able to use federal funds to have a medically induced abortion. They state that women who begin “Plan B” sometimes change their mind and this provides them with an out.

The suit states that the law would force doctors to provide patients with medically inaccurate and misleading information that could be harmful to their health.

 The Theory Behind the Law – Reversing “Plan B” with hormones

The idea for the “reversal” of abortion comes from a gynecologist who provided injections of misoprostol with progesterone – (an “off label” by the FDA meaning it cannot be marketed as such, and the Arizona legislature may be in violation of federal law by insisting physicians include this information).

The “reversal” however, can occur without taking the dangerous steroids. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists if the patient takes the first but not the second drug that pregnancies can continue in 30-50% of the women. Thus, the organization states- the “medical reversal” has never been shown to work above this- and subjects women to unnecessary and non-FDA approved treatment

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the district of Arizona and was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Planned Parenthood and several Arizona physicians.

The additional part of the Arizona bill is to forbid women from purchase of plan B using federal monies. There is no provision, however, to provide for the payment of birth, or raising of the children.

My Take

Legislators should never tell physicians what a proper informed consent is to such specificity. Relying not on science, and not being informed about science based and evidence-based medicine is never a good idea. The lawsuit is sound- and a part of medical ethics. Physicians everywhere should be outraged.

Politicians telling doctors how to do their job never works well – it is ironic that the party that wants less government wants to get into the job of telling doctors what to say – and in the process, are telling doctors to inform patients about information that is not credible and has no scientific/medical basis.

Dr. Terry Simpson About Dr. Terry Simpson
Dr. Terry Simpson received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Chicago where he spent several years in the Kovler Viral Oncology laboratories doing genetic engineering. He found he liked people more than petri dishes, and went to medical school. Dr. Simpson, a weight loss surgeon is an advocate of culinary medicine. The first surgeon to become certified in Culinary Medicine, he believes teaching people to improve their health through their food and in their kitchen. On the other side of the world, he has been a leading advocate of changing health care to make it more "relationship based," and his efforts awarded his team the Malcolm Baldrige award for healthcare in 2011 for the NUKA system of care in Alaska and in 2013 Dr Simpson won the National Indian Health Board Area Impact Award. A frequent contributor to media outlets discussing health related topics and advances in medicine, he is also a proud dad, husband, author, cook, and surgeon “in that order.” For media inquiries, please visit

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