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OB/GYN Group Says Pregnant Women Have Right to Refuse Doctor Recommendations

Earlier this month, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) Committee on Ethics issued an opinion paper on “Refusal of Medically Recommended Treatment During Pregnancy.” The document laid out a series of nine recommendations for what doctors should do when pregnant women refuse medical treatments indicated by their obstetrician–gynecologists (OB/GYN).1

The document underscores the ethical importance of respecting the right of patients to refuse treatment, and it specifically points out that forcing pregnant women to comply with treatment “raises profoundly important issues about patient rights, respect for autonomy, violations of bodily integrity, power differentials, and gender equality.”1 It adds, “Coercive interventions often are discriminatory and act as barriers to needed care.”1

According to the Committee on Ethics, the purpose of its opinion paper is to:

provide obstetrician–gynecologists with an ethical approach to addressing a pregnant woman’s decision to refuse recommended medical treatment that recognizes the centrality of the pregnant woman’s decisional authority and the interconnection between the pregnant woman and the fetus.1

The Committee on Ethics says that the actions of obstetrician-gynecologists, when providing care to pregnant women, should be guided by the informed consent ethical principle and that “adult patients who are capable decision makers have the right to refuse recommended medical treatment.”1 It acknowledges that this “doctrine” has “evolved through legal cases, regulations, and statutes that have established the requirement of informed consent to medical treatment in order to effect patient self-determination and preclude violations of bodily integrity.”

The Committee on Ethics also recognizes that “informed refusal” is the “corollary” of informed consent. It states:

[I]t is an ongoing process of mutual communication between the patient and the physician and enables a patient to make an informed and voluntary decision about accepting or declining medical care. The informed consent process ideally begins before decision making so that the patient is able to make an informed choice (ie, informed consent or informed refusal) based on clinical information, the patient’s values, and other considerations of importance to her.

An article in Mothering magazine reviewing the ACOG Committee on Ethics’ opinion paper hones in on the issue of voluntary informed consent, noting that, “by nature” then, informed refusal must also be an option and, in fact, is “just as valid a choice.”2


1 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Refusal of Medically Recommended Treatment During Pregnancy. ACOG.org No. 664, June 2016.
2 McClain L. New ACOG Statement Says Forcing Treatment on Pregnant Women is Unethical. Mothering June 10, 2016.

14 Responses to OB/GYN Group Says Pregnant Women Have Right to Refuse Doctor Recommendations

  1. Shawn Siegel Reply

    June 30, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    *Whew* I’m so glad an ethics committee decided it’s okay for a pregnant woman to refuse a medical procedure. Otherwise, where would we be?

    • Mark Proudfoot Reply

      July 1, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      What a breath of fresh air! What took them so long? My wife delayed telling of her pregnancies to avoid fights with doctors who knew best.

      Now if only this would be directly applied to vaccine choice I will be satisfied.

      • Cynthia Reply

        July 11, 2016 at 6:02 pm

        I am going to print this article out and send it to our local hospital here on Kauai! After my duaghters birth of her twins there I had an awful taste in my mouth. We all did, Dr. had no bedside manner & basically came in and told my daughter how her birth was going down! Well we showed her otherwise & the twins were born naturally & amazingly healthy. Doctors can often only focus on the negative. I feel she was inexperienced & wanted to only focus on the “what ifs”. Thank God we knew better:)

  2. Colorado Reply

    July 1, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Now what power does this ethics committee have to yank licenses of doctors whom violate informed consent through a myriad of coercive actions? Also, is NVIC ever going to mail me the booklets for the past 2 donations I’ve made? I’m still waiting for those booklets because we have a few medically licensed persons at my wife’s place of hospital employment whom would like to have those and are possibly getting on board with this issue.

    • Marco Caceres Reply

      July 1, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      Thank you for your comment. Please send me your name and email address (do you have a way to correspond with commenters privately?) and I will forward it to someone who can answer your question regarding the booklet.


  3. Olga Reply

    July 1, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    if you think it makes no sense – legally you can kill your child (through abortion) but you are thrown upon if you refuse some medical treatment while pregnant

  4. Jeff Reply

    July 1, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Pregnancy is a cash cow for doctors. They schedule so many appointments it makes my head spin. I have no doubt they kill babies with all the ministrations they deem necessary.

  5. Jo Reply

    July 1, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    The ‘medical practitioner’ (aka the state agent) cannot prevent you from aborting a baby, but can prevent you from refusal of ‘treatment’ while expecting a baby either by coercion or ‘neglecting’ to offer alternatives to allopathic ‘treatment’.
    Another example of the double mind at work.

  6. Tanya Marquette Reply

    July 1, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    I feel a bit like a broken record daying this but the medical industry was consciously and intentionally established to sell chemical drugs, destroy all competition, and to ultimately have complete control over our bodies.

    As an industry profitting from disease, it demands total control of what you do so they can keep pushing toxic drugs and then make even more profits supressing the diseases created by these drugs and other toxic forms of treatment

    Misdiagnoses? No problem. Generally they are let off the hook. You refuse a drug and an incident occurs and you become branded as an abuser, uncaring parent, willfully neglectful and can suffer dire consequences for thwarting an industry that is the biggest cause of death in this country.

  7. Mark Richards Reply

    July 1, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Translation: practitioners must lean upon teams of “ethicists” to tell them that adults have informed consent rights.

    The term “idiopathic” comes to mind, best now defined as when the physician is both an idiot and pathetic.

    • Jay Reply

      July 10, 2016 at 10:00 am

      Yes idiopathic, not having a clue as to whats causing the problem, but don’t forget iatrogenic, medicines or treatments that cause disease often the same disease that idiopathic defines!!! Doctors overall are whores. I’m sorry there’s no nice way to say what they have done to millions of people through their “educations”

  8. Annelies Reply

    July 2, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    Being sick and being pregnant are two completely different things.You Don,t need a hospital or a docters when you,re pregnant. Find yourself a good midwife and have you,re baby at home, in you,re own bed. I had my kids at home and I,d do it again. No vaccinaties behind you,re back, no synthtetic Vit.K shot, no eye-drops. Just the most natural way to give birth and keep you,re baby safe and dat away from Big Farma.

  9. Mark Reply

    July 3, 2016 at 6:54 am

    “The Committee on Ethics” of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is an oxymoron. Where are the “ethics” anywhere when it comes to the “practice” of so-called medicine in this country? Forced vaccinations coming soon to a theater near you. A reporting system of vaccine damage that is rarely used or done accurately. The criteria for determining vaccine damage so skewed hardly anyone with legitimate damage can claim it. 69 vaccines given within the first few years of life certain to neurologically damage, cripple or create autoimmune disorders. A “medical” system owned and controlled by pharmaceutical companies whose only purpose is to sell drugs guaranteed to cause sever side-effects. A government owned and controlled by the same companies bent on making profits without concern for those damaged by their drugs or surgeries.
    A media owned and controlled… you know the rest. Where are the ethics?

  10. Rosech Reply

    July 3, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    As a health consultant and Oriental Medical Doctor, I remember one of our great presenter (an MD, Dermatologist, Pathologist and Licensed Acupuncturist) stated that Western Med only knows 3 things: microscopy (biopsies), surgery (yang it out), and prescriptions that in general kill. However, I must say my Kaiser doctor always attends Integrated Medicine Conferences (which is how we learn as well in Chinese Medicine), that Western Med knows nothing about a lot of things, and in particular hormones while our bodies are run by hormones! As an acupuncturist I also teach patients nutrition that we are required to study but that I also learned back in the early 80’s. People in general have no clue about their bodies, how they work together interiorly, diets, good and bad foods, etc. Sad, but it keeps me busy.

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