Friday, April 20, 2012

Wisconsin Legislature's Unlicensed Practice of Medicine has Planned (Parenthood) Effect

The Wisconsin State Journal reports on Planned Parenthood's decision to cease providing medication induced abortions.   The reason?   The new law passed by the GOP controlled legislature and signed by Governor Walker would potentially subject doctors to criminal charges not for what the doctor does, but for what the patient fails to do.  Key quotes from the article:
The law subjects doctors to Class I felony charges if procedures required under the new law are not followed. Such crimes carry a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine, 3 1/2 years in prison or both.
Huyck called the law "vague" and "problematic." She said the agency will be suspending medication abortions "until we can get more clarity."  
"It's very difficult for a physician to know when he or she is compliance with the law," Huyck said. 
Medical Society President Dr. Tosha Wetterneck said the law is an "unprecedented intrusion into the patient-doctor relationship" and requires doctors to follow procedures that are not considered to be the best medical practices.  
For example, a patient will now be required to return to the same doctor 12 to 18 days after the medications are administered for followup care. If she refuses, or prefers to see her personal physician, the patient would face no penalty but the doctor could be charged, Wetterneck said.  
The law, if described accurately, is unquestionably unconstitutional in attempting to impose criminal penalties on doctors for conduct by third parties over whom they have no control.

Three thoughts on reviewing this article:

First, why are health related mandates a gross violation of individual freedom unless they are imposed by Republicans?

Second, how about this idea:  Passing unconstitutional laws cost people freedom to act in protected ways until the laws can be overturned by courts, usually at great and unnecessary cost to the public fisc.  Despite taking an oath to defend the constitution, a legislator may not care how unconstitutional a law is, because until it is overturned the law intimidates people into doing or not doing things as the legislator (and presumably governor) desired.  And regardless of the bad outcome in court, passage of the law pleases the extreme base of the legislator.  How about if the Wisconsin Legislature approves a constitutional amendment to present to the voters that requires any legislator, who having voted three times in the course of their career in favor of a law that is later found by a final adjudication to be unconstitutional, in whole or in part, to be immediately expelled from the legislature, and forever barred from elected or appointed public service in Wisconsin?  I like this better than term limits.
Third, according to the Wisconsin's Healthcare Work Force Report of 2009, issued by the Wisconsin Hospital Association, 370,000 Wisconsinites work in health-related fields.  Presumably the doctors and nurses in these fields influence their other colleagues.  According to DPI,  99,240 people work in Wisconsin public schools as administrators, teachers, aides and janitors.   The GOP has already decided to write off educators generally as a voting bloc.  Do they really want to do the same thing with health care workers, a voting bloc over three times larger than folks in the public education field?

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