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The North Dakota Coalition for Privacy in Health Care

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Our Position
 
The North Dakota Coalition for Privacy in Health Care is a non-partisan group consisting of organizations and individuals who hold the position that government should not interfere in the private relationship between a patient and the patient's physician, physician assistant or other healthcare provider.  

 

The Coalition’s position is that government and third parties should not cause a healthcare provider to compromise his or her medical judgment as to what information or treatment is in the best interest of the patient. Laws that dictate or limit interactions between healthcare providers and their patients undermine the patient-physician relationship, infringe on the right of privacy in health care, and put patients’ health at risk.

 

The Coalition opposes any legislation that directly or indirectly:

  • Prevents healthcare providers from freely discussing a patient’s medical care with him/her or providing information to the patient about his/her medical care.
  • Dictates specifically what a healthcare provider may or may not say to the patient.
  • Requires healthcare providers to perform specific procedures or tests that are not medically necessary.
  • Prevents healthcare providers from performing specific procedures or prescribing certain medications that the healthcare provider deems appropriate for the patient.

 

The interferences outlined above would infringe on the physicians’ First Amendment right to freedom of speech, would infringe on a patient’s expectations of privacy and confidentiality, and could impact patient safety and health. Legislators should protect the sanctity of the patient-physician relationship and not intrude into the realm of medical practice in order to further a political agenda.

 

Personhood Legislation:

The Coalition opposes any legislation that defines a person as a human at "any" or "every" stage of development - in other words, a person with legal rights and protections beginning the moment an egg is fertilized.

 

Three pieces of so-called personhood legislation were advanced during the 2013 North Dakota State Assembly. Senate Bill 2302 and Senate Bill 2303 were defeated. Concurrent Resolution 4009 was passed and will go on the ballot in November 2014 for a vote by the people. If approved by voters, this law would seriously impair the ability of patients to receive appropriate medical treatment.

 

A personhood law could impact our freedom of privacy in health care, infertility services, pregnancy care, reproductive health care, all abortion care, end-of-life care, and access to physicians in the state. Read more about the broad and dangerous impact of personhood.  

 

Legislation Affecting In Vitro Fertilization:

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a procedure that has been used in medical practice for nearly 35 years. Millions of babies have been born worldwide due to this medical technology. For many couples, IVF is the only option to build their family, especially couples faced with male factor infertility.  IVF may be the only treatment option that’s successful for women with tubal damage, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, pelvic adhesions, ovulatory dysfunction, uterine abnormalities, recurrent miscarriage and unexplained infertility.

 

The Coalition specifically opposes any legislation that could ban IVF, regulate the number eggs that are fertilized or the number of embryos transferred into the uterus, or affect the ability to freeze embryos.  The coalition believes these decisions should be made by the couple utilizing IVF in conjunction with their physician. Learn more about the impact legislation could have on IVF.

 

In vitro fertilization is a highly regulated field of medicine by multiple agencies including The Food and Drug Administration, the Center for Disease Control, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) which operates the CLIA program, The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, the Joint Commission Accreditation for Hospital Organizations, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

 

Coalition Members

Many organizations and more than 1,600 individuals have joined together to take this position on privacy in health care in North Dakota.

 

In Good Company
 
The Coalition’s position against personhood is consistent with many national and state organizations, including:
 
RESOLVE: the National Infertility Organization (RESOLVE's position statement)
 
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG's position statement)
 
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine and The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (ASRM and SART position statement)
 
The American Academy of ART Attorneys
 
The North Dakota Medical Association