Legislating Medicine: The Need for Evidence, Argument, and Alliance

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Recently, there has been a shift toward promulgating laws on end-of-life issues and other bioethics topics. Often, legislators explicitly intend to regulate physician practices, raising concerns about how and where legislators might interfere with medical professionalism (1). For instance, in January 2017, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed Senate Bill 5, requiring physicians and technicians to describe ultrasound images and fetal heartbeats to pregnant women prior to abortions (2). Similarly, Kansas passed Senate Bill 85, which addressed how and when do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders could be implemented and required hospitals to disclose their end-of-life policies to patients and families. Furthermore, last month, Texas took an unprecedented position on unilateral DNRs by passing Senate Bill 11, a bill which requires patient/surrogate consent for DNR orders and dictates how and when DNRs can be written and rescinded (3).
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