Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The necessity of informed consent

Real Choice:

A plastic surgeon who just operates on all comers would be considered a quack. It's his job to make sure the patient's expectations about what this surgery will do for her are realistic.

Not so with abortion. She asked for it and that's all he needs to know.

Nobody assesses her for risk factors for poor psychological adjustment and informs her if she is at high risk for being traumatized by the abortion experience. The risk factors are well known; but nobody screens for them and nobody informs the woman of what risk factors she has and what the possible negative outcomes may be.

When I underwent laser eye surgery in January, I was astounded at the eight-page consent form I had to sign. It went through every single piece of minutiae. There was one page I had to initial each statement, line by line.

The counselor told me exactly what would happen during the operation. And the fact that I broke down at the prospect of having my eyes lasered did not deter this woman. She gave me the first sedative, then made sure I knew everything.

(Yes, I have a "thing" about my eyes, but I really wanted to get rid of my glasses).

Feminists figure: she's going to do it anyway, it should be safe and legal.

As if the will of the woman should be the only determining factor in all this. Her judgment must never be subject to examination or scrutiny. No one must ask of her: Hey, is this a good idea? Do you really know what you're doing? Are you sure that this is what you really want?.

These common sense questions are all construed as "misogyny". As if men's judgments are never subjected to questioning.