Red River Women’s Clinic, the only remaining abortion clinic in North Dakota, filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday challenging two state laws that they claim compel health care professionals to provide “false, misleading, non-medical” information about reproductive health. The suit was filed alongside the American Medical Association (AMA) with help from the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR).
The first law, referred to as the Compelled Reversal Mandate, dictates the type of “informed consent” patients must receive before getting an abortion. The aspect in contention is a section requiring physicians to inform a patient that “it may be possible to reverse” a medication abortion. The complaint argues that reversals of medication abortions are not supported by scientific evidence, and therefore it would be patently false for a physician to represent that they are.
The second law, referred to as the Compelled Personhood Mandate, further requires physicians to inform patients that “the abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” Plaintiffs again contend that this statement expresses an ideological belief and is not predicated in scientific theory.
Overall, the complaint argues that the two laws are unconstitutional. Specifically, the laws violate physicians’ First Amendment rights by forcing them to convey inaccurate information with which they do not agree. Plaintiffs rely on the Supreme Court’s past ruling where it upheld that the government could not regulate the speech of health care professionals in efforts to advance controversial beliefs or discrimination.
The Compelled Reversal Mandate is set to take effect August 1, 2019. As a result, the complaint requests a preliminary injunction against the Compelled Reversal Mandate and a permanent injunction against the Compelled Personhood Mandate.
In a press release, the AMA stated the laws “inflict irreparable harm on patients and force physicians to violate their obligation to give honest and informed advice.”