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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Misuse of SDSMA Statement by Pro-Abortion Campaign

I've talked to several doctors over the last few days in Rapid City and Sioux Falls who are dissatisfied with the South Dakota State Medical Association's statement concerning Initiated Measure 11, and with the misuse of that statement by the pro-abortion (and Orwellian-named) South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families.

What I am told by some of the doctors who are members of the SDSMA is that when the 60-member Council of Physicians board of the SDSMA met on March 20, 2008 it was decided that the SDSMA would take no position at all on IM 11.

However, I am told that in September, at the insistence of Dr. Marvin Buehner of Rapid City, several members of the Council of Physicians met again to revisit the issue. Dr. Buehner is said to have taken charge of that meeting and pushed for a statement against IM 11; my sources tell me that not all members of the Council were present at that meeting. While at least one member of the council strongly objected to this action, the opposition was voted down.

The full extent of the SDSMA statement is as follows:

At its September 17, 2008, meeting, the governing Council of the South Dakota State Medical Association reaffirmed its previous position of support for American Medical Association policy that the issue of support of or opposition to abortion is a matter for individuals to decide, based on personal values or beliefs. Additionally, the Council established a position that the SDSMA opposes Initiated Measure 11 solely based on interference by the government in medical practice and restrictions on physician-patient communications.


One of the key objections many physicians have with this statement is the fact that there essentially is no doctor-patient relationship in elective abortion situations, and physician-patient communications are minimal at best.

When this statement was released from the SDSMA, the pro-abortion effort quickly seized on it and used it as a centerpiece of their campaign to convince the voters of South Dakota to vote against IM 11.

Hundreds of doctors across South Dakota were outraged at this misrepresentation of their individual opinion of the measure, and the misrepresentation of the statement in general.

These doctors contacted the leaders of the SDSMA and soon the SDSMA sent written notice to the Campaign for Healthy families to cease and desist using the SDSMA statement in their advertising and to remove the Association logo from their campaign website.

A press release was prepared by the SDSMA and held but not released, in the event the Campaign for Healthy Families failed to comply.

The text of that embargoed press release is as followed, with a scan below the text:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 23, 2008

South Dakota State Medical Association Media Advisory

The South Dakota State Medical Association (SDSMA) is concerned that various organizations, commercials and media have misrepresented the SDSMA’s position on Initiated Measure 11 and continue to do so in an effort to further their own interests.

The SDSMA’s official position statement reads as follows: “At its September 17, 2008, meeting, the governing Council of the South Dakota State Medical Association reaffirmed its previous position of support for American Medical Association policy that the issue of support of or opposition to abortion is a matter for individuals to decide, based on personal values or beliefs. Additionally, the Council established a position that the SDSMA opposes Initiated Measure 11 solely based on interference by the government in medical practice and restrictions on physician-patient communications.”

To prevent further misinterpretation and misunderstanding, the SDSMA requests that its position statement be used in its entirety when communicating to the public.

Further, the SDSMA has formally notified the Campaign for Healthy Families to discontinue referencing the SDSMA in its campaign activities to include public advertising.
###

For more information, please contact:
Andrew Johnson
SDSMA Communications Director
605-336-1965
ajohnso@sdsma.org


Additionally, a letter went out from Dr. Cynthia Weaver, President of the SDSMA to hundreds of concerned members of the SDSMA to assure them that their concerns were being addressed and that the Campaign for Healthy Families had been instructed to cease and desist using their statement in any of their campaign communications, and to remove the SDSMA logo from their website.

This is part of what Dr. Weaver's letter told SDSMA members (a scan of the entire letter follows this text):

SDSMA continues its position of neutrality on the issue of abortion and will not attempt to influence the personal views of its physician members regarding abortion procedures- it is a personal matter. The SDSMA has physician members who are pro-choice and who are pro-life, and convictions are equally passionate in both cases.

SDSMA deplores efforts of partisans in the IM 11 campaign, and in some cases the media, to misrepresent its position in order to advance their own agendas. We have requested that any use of the Association's position be confined to the language of the position statement. Any departure simply serves to misrepresent a carefully crafted and nuanced viewpoint. To this end, the SDSMA has formally insisted that the Campaign for Healthy Families withdraw its present advertising and conform it to the four corners of this Association's position statement.





I am told that the Campaign for Healthy Families did not immediately comply, and had to be contacted again by telephone with the demand to cease and desist repeated. The group eventually stopped using the SDSMA statement in their television ads and eventually removed.

However, late last week or early this week, I received another campaign mailer from the Campaign for Healthy Families which said, "The South Dakota Medical Association, which represents hundreds of doctors throughout South Dakota, opposes Measure 11."

I have also received a couple of reports this afternoon from people in eastern and north-central South Dakota who were called today by the Campaign for Healthy Families and were told the SDSMA is opposing IM 11.

In addition to the continued drumbeat on the SDSMA statement, the pro-abortion campaign has found a “catchy tune” in their theme of “keep government out of family decisions.” Only this doesn’t pass the smell test, coming from liberals who otherwise think government is far smarter than you are, and should be running every aspect of your life.

Besides, government already interjected itself into this issue back in 1973 when a few unelected judges seized power from the states and the people and forced legal abortion on the entire country. These oligarchs in black robes know better than you what’s right, don’t they?

While this “government interference” theme doesn’t pass the smell test, it does indeed pass the “hypocrisy” test.

My sources within the SDSMA tell me that while it is uncertain what can be accomplished with the election only two business days away, the SDSMA is examining the possibility of litigation on Monday morning, November 3.

The pro-abortion campaign ("Campaign for UnHealthy Families" as they are known in pro-life circles) has engaged in one deception after another this election season.

They campaigned against Referred Law 6 in 2006 on the sole basis that it lacked exceptions for rape, incest, and the health of the mother, and their campaign succeeded.

Now that the voters of South Dakota have a measure to consider which does contain those exceptions, the pro-abortion lobby has been forced to scramble for anything they can use to scare the voters into opposing the measure.

We have been told by people intent on using abortion for birth control that we must keep abortion legal to treat rare fetal anomalies that affect less than 1 percent of pregnancies, and often have non-abortive treatments. How ironic that those intent on keeping the abortion of unborn children would hold up ill unborn children as a justification to keep abortion legal.

Then we heard that Sanford Health in Sioux Falls had come out against IM 11, but after they talked with the legal team at VoteYesForLife.com, they changed their position and stated that in almost every way IM 11 fits within their current standard procedures.

Now we hear that Campaign for UnHealthy Families workers here from out of state have registered to vote in our election, planning to go home to California and other states the day after the election--a violation of federal and South Dakota law.

And of course we have this fiasco with Dr. Buehner's ram-rodding of the SDSMA statement and it's continued misuse by the pro-abortion campaign.

Of course, there really is no reasonable justification to oppose this most reasonable of bills to end abortion as birth control. The pro-abortion campaign has little choice but to resort to wild and irrational arguments.

But they have no right to flaunt the law and misrepresent organizations like the SDSMA.


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