law doc

Bismarck Physicians Voice Concerns About Measure 1 Impact

Bis Doc Presser 10.15Wednesday, Oct 15, 2014

BISMARCK – A group of physicians from Bismarck voiced concerns about the far-reaching effects of Measure 1 in a press conference today, emphasizing the intrusion in medical practice.

If approved by voters in November, Measure 1 would permanently add the following to the state constitution: “The inalienable right to life of every human being at any stage of development must be recognized and protected.”

“Measure One violates the privacy of the physician-patient relationship and inserts the government into personal medical decisions,” said Dr. Rhonda Schafer-McLean, an Obstetrician/Gynecologist from Bismarck. “As physicians, we care deeply about our patients. The proponents of this measure profess this is only about abortion, but it is so vaguely worded it will go far beyond that and into so many aspects of health care. We care about protecting patients’ choices and their ability to make health care decisions.”

For example, Schafer-McLean said, it could erode patient centered care; limit the ability of obstetricians to properly treat complications of pregnancy; and threaten doctors’ ability to provide the care patients prefer at the end of their lives.

“If our constitution says that every life must be protected equally, that could tie the hands of doctors and families when women are facing problem pregnancies and making difficult and personal health decisions,” Dr. Thomas Hutchens said. “Measure 1 is bad for health care.”

Dina Butcher of Bismarck, the chairperson of North Dakotans Against Measure 1, said she was not surprised to hear the concerns from the health care professionals in Bismarck.

“It is important that North Dakotans hear from their trusted health care providers as they stand up against Measure 1,” Butcher said. “Measure 1 is government overreach at its worst, and North Dakotans certainly don’t want the government intervening in their private health care decisions.”