Rutgers University Study Finds Women Considering Abortion Are Often Given Inaccurate Information

Rutgers,_The_State_University_of_New_Jersey_logoSome 37 of the 50 states have some form of informed consent laws on their books. These laws stipulate that information on fetal development must be given to women who are considering an abortion. In some states, these laws require medical professionals to tell women about the functionality of certain structures such as the heart, brain, and lungs at various stages of pregnancy. Of these 37 states, 29 mandate what specific information must be given to women who are considering having an abortion. In the other states, the government leaves it up to the medical professional as to the content of what they tell women before they have an abortion.

A new report from the Informed Consent Project at Rutgers University in New Jersey finds that a significant amount of the information that states require medical professionals to tell women is inaccurate. In fact, in a study of 23 states, 31 percent of all information contained in mandated information packets is inaccurate.

The Rutgers study, which includes an interactive map of the states, give a breakdown of the accuracy of the information in each state. The study found that in the states of Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma, more than 40 percent of the information was inaccurate. Among the states that require particular information be provided to women considering an abortion, Ohio and Kentucky provided the most accurate information. Yet 13 percent of the information in these states was deemed inaccurate by the authors of the Rutgers University study.

danielsCynthia Daniels, a professor of political science and director of the Informed Consent Project at Rutgers University, states that “these levels of inaccuracies are deeply concerning. Patients should be confident their doctor is providing them with accurate information. Misinformation is a threat to the integrity of the doctor-patient relationship and to the medical system as a whole, especially in decisions about pregnancy.”

Professor Daniels joined the Rutgers University faculty in 1992. She holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in political science, all from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is the author of many books including Exposing Men: The Science and Politics of Male Reproduction (Oxford University Press, 2006).

The study, “Informed or Misinformed Consent? Abortion Policy in the United States,” was published on the website of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. It can be downloaded here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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