American Medical Association sues North Dakota over abortion law

American Medical Association sues North Dakota over abortion law
© Getty Images

The American Medical Association (AMA) alleges in a lawsuit that North Dakota's abortion counseling law forces doctors to “act as the government’s mouthpiece,” and offer misleading or false information to patients seeking the procedure, court documents show.

The AMA argues in the lawsuit, filed last week, that the state’s law “compel[s] physicians and their agents to speak government-mandated messages that entail providing to their patients misleading or even patently false, non-medical information with which they disagree."


The state’s Compelled Reversal Mandate requires physicians to tell patients that abortions terminate the “life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being,” and a new state law mandates that they tell patients that medication abortion may be reversible.

The AMA argues the regulation violates providers’ First Amendment Rights by forcing them to relay a claim "about fetal personhood that is unmoored from medical science." It adds that the medication abortion assertion is "wholly unsupported by the best, most reliable scientific evidence."

“The Compelled Speech Laws not only force physicians to provide patients with government messages with which they disagree and to refer patients to government-sanctioned services … but the laws also compel physicians to personally speak these government-sanctioned messages,” the suit says.

The AMA joined the Center for Reproductive Rights and health care providers in filing the suit, which names North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Cass County State Attorney Birch Burdick as defendants.

The suit seeks an injunction to prevent the laws from being enforced.

Abortion rights advocates have filed lawsuits against multiple states, including Alabama and Georgia, that have recently passed restrictive abortion laws.

The challenges set the stage for a fight that could make its way to the Supreme Court, sparking fears that the court’s conservative majority could reverse the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion.