This November Colorado voters will have Proposition 115 before them. The physician members of the Colorado Section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists are strongly opposed to Proposition 115 and urge voters to oppose it as well.
Proposition 115 is a direct attack on the confidentiality of the private communication and treatment between a pregnant woman and her doctor. In the United States, we hold the privileged communication between a doctor and a patient, between a lawyer and a client, and between a pastor and a parishioner to be a sacred trust that is fundamental to the values of our country and our constitution. We also hold the nature of any medical treatment to be private and confidential between the doctor and the patient. Proposition 115 is intended to break that confidentiality by making a rare procedure a crime.
The purpose of Proposition 115 is to substitute politics for medical judgment. It attacks the very nature of the patient-doctor relationship which is based on trust, privacy, confidentiality, and open communication. When an act is declared to be a crime, it becomes public.
Proposition 115 goes further than substituting politics for medicine. Proposition 115 includes a threat against a doctor for treating a patient. Proposition 115 relies on the threat of criminal prosecution to intimidate doctors into not treating a patient within the medical standard of care for ending a pregnancy. The proponents have drawn a hard line and enshrined that hard line in the Criminal Code. Proposition 115 is designed and intended to be a criminal measure; it is not a medical or scientific treatment standard. In fact, the hard line is not based on scientific or medical standards. The hard line is a political statement based on opinion and nothing but opinion.
Voters should ask themselves why the proponents did not make an allowance for a pregnancy that results from a rape? Why did the proponents not make an allowance for a pregnancy that results from incest? Why did the proponents not make an allowance for the tragedy of a fetus that has lethal conditions? And why did the proponents not make an allowance for the mental health of the mother?
The answer to each of those questions is very simple. The proponents intend to make an abortion to end a pregnancy that resulted from a rape or incest a crime. The proponents intend to make an abortion necessitated because of lethal fetal conditions a crime. The proponents intend to make an abortion necessitated to preserve the mental health of the mother a crime. Why else would they have written it to be a part of the Criminal Code?
To enforce that prohibition, they intend to use the full power of the district attorneys and the courts to criminally prosecute any doctor who is found in violation of the measure. The proponents intend for it to be used to prosecute a doctor who performs a certain abortion. Why else would it be in the Criminal Code?
The proponents have carefully and intentionally proposed an anti-abortion criminal measure deceptively disguised as a simple law. Proposition 115 is intentionally confusing. It proposes to set in stone a legal standard based on political opinion rather than science and an accepted medical standard of care. It seeks to impose a rigid and unbending governmental fiat on a few pregnant women and their doctors. Every pregnancy is unique, and no one can know what the pregnant woman and her family are facing. A pregnant woman and her family should be able to rely on her doctors for the best information and to help her and her family make an informed decision about her care. A pregnant woman and her family should not be subjected to the opinions of politicians that override the medical judgment of her doctor.
A law that would place Senators and Representatives between a patient and a doctor is not, and can never be, allowed to override the sacred freedom that is protected by the United States Constitution.
This is not the first attempt by a political special interest group to impose strict legal controls over the practice of medicine. The physician members of the Colorado Section of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have opposed past measures by politicians to force physicians to conduct unnecessary tests, to establish unconscionable waiting periods on patients, to force patients into counseling, to read a script prepared and approved by politicians to patients, and the list goes on and on.
Our physicians are strongly opposed to any arbitrary political measure that would interfere with the open and privileged communication between a doctor and a patient.
Our physicians are strongly opposed to any political effort that places politics above the care and treatment of patients.
Our physicians are strongly opposed to any proposed law that substitutes political opinion for science and medicine.
We ask our member physicians to vote against Proposition 115 and we ask all Colorado voters to join with us in defeating this harsh and heavy-handed restriction on patients, on doctors and on the practice of medicine.
A vote against this measure is a vote for private and confidential decisions between patients and physicians. A vote against this measure is a vote for patients and their doctors.