Saturday, December 5, 2009

Pregnancy, Florida law, hiv tests, and informed consent

Florida Statute 381.004
Back in 2005 the Florida legislature created a law in which informed consent for testing of sexually transmitted diseases (hiv in particular) is not a requirement. This was not directed at all people in Florida but at certain people. First on the list was "persons convicted of prostitution or procuring another to committ prostitution, then inmates, and then pregnant women. Also mentioned was that a medical examiner did not need informed consent for autopsies or investigations. Thus in the land of Disney World, a paradise of sand & sun, tropical flowers and fruits, pregnant women are denied informed consent along with convicts and prostitutes. What does that say about Florida legislators and their belief systems? Do we believe that pregnant women are not deserving of informed consent because they need to be controlled like convicts and prostitutes? If you carry another human being in your body, the state feels you have no legal right to informed consent? Is pregnancy a deviant behavior--since the list includes people who break the law? What were these legislators thinking? Shouldn't a pregnant woman be informed that because she is pregnant she is more likely to have a false positive hiv test? If you break the law and are convicted, it is understandable that you would lose your civil liberties for a time. But how does a pregnant women fall into this category of law-breakers?
Copyright 2009 Valerie W. McClain

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