This letter, authored by CHLP and joined by seventeen other organizations, opposes a proposed AMA resolution calling for mandatory testing of pregnant women (Resolution 517). The letter cites evidence that informed consent is not a barrier to care and, in fact, states that have preserved written informed consent have virtually eliminated perinatal HIV transmission. It also presents evidence of several successful models incorporating informed consent into health care. The letter argues that it is, in fact, health care providers’ failure to offer a test, rather than informed consent, that remains a barrier to eliminating mother-to-child transmission. It also notes that respected medical authorities such as the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Public Health Service Task Force Perinatal Guidelines Working Group all oppose mandatory testing of pregnant women.
Resolution 517 was not passed, but was sent to the AMA’s Ethics Committee, which is compiling a report on the proposal scheduled to be released in June 2010. Organizations wishing to submit reports, letters, or research opposing the Resolution should contact
Bette-Jane Crigger, PhD
Director, Ethics Policy
Secretary, Council on Ethical & Judicial Affairs
American Medical Association
515 N. State Street
Chicago IL 60654