The Informed Consent ProjectTexas' Women's Right to KnowRead Our Article!How does your state compare?See For YourselfView our Gallery

The Informed Consent Project

The Informed Consent Project evaluates the medical accuracy of state-mandated abortion-related informed consent materials with a focus on information on embryological and fetal development.

About our Project

Texas' Women's Right to Know

We've analyzed Texas' 2016 draft informed consent materials! Visit our Texas page for an annotated list of medically inaccurate statements, highlighted booklet, and more.

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Read Our Article!

Our journal article, 'Informed or Misinformed Consent? Abortion Policy in the United States' is now available.

Read Our Article

How does your state compare?

See how accurate your state's mandated consent to abortion materials are.

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See For Yourself

We've highlighted 'medically inaccurate' statements and posted state informed consent booklets to this site on each state's page

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View our Gallery

Our gallery of examples contains pages from informed consent booklets with the 'medically inaccurate' statements highlighted

Take a Look

THE INFORMED CONSENT PROJECT

Many states have passed abortion-related ‘Informed Consent’ laws which require that a woman seeking an abortion receive a state-authored informational packet before her abortion procedure can be performed.

The Informed Consent Project evaluates the ‘medical accuracy’ of this information with a focus on information on embryological and fetal development.

Our project examines the information produced by 23 states, evaluated by a team of human anatomists.

 
 
 

States With Informed Consent Materials

 
 

States Without Informed Consent Materials

Only the states in orange have mandated and produced written informed consent to abortion materials. White states have no such materials to evaluate. Please note that Kentucky and Mississippi were not included in our recently published article, but have been evaluated since the research for that article was completed.

WE HAD THREE MAJOR FINDINGS

NEARLY 1 IN 3 STATEMENTS ABOUT EMBRYOLOGICAL/FETAL DEVELOPMENT WAS MEDICALLY INACCURATE

31% of all information about embryological/fetal development in state-mandated informed consent to abortion mateirals was ‘medically inaccurate’

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Highest percentages of medical inaccuracy in descriptions of the first trimester

Highest percentages of ‘medical inaccuracies’ were found in the first trimester (or 12 weeks) of pregnancy, when most women have their abortions

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medically Inaccurate statements were concentrated in descriptions of extremities and internal organs

Inaccuracies were concentrated around certain body systems, such as extremities (arms, legs, fingers and toes) and internal organs (such as the heart) which overstated fetal development

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ABOUT US

The Project

Led by Prof. Cynthia Daniels of Rutgers University, we assembled a panel of experts to assess medical accuracy of information about embryological/fetal development in state-mandated consent to abortion informed consent materials.

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Our Approach

Learn how we constructed our study, from the design of our methods to the conduct of our analysis. For even more detail, you can access our most recent journal article here.

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Our Results

See which states had the best and worst scores, and access our lists of ‘medically inaccurate’ information about embryological/fetal development in state-mandated informed consent to abortion materials.

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WHAT DO WE MEAN BY MEDICALLY INACCURATE?

We developed a scale that allowed our panel of experts to rate statements from state-mandated informed consent to abortion materials for both whether they were ‘true or false’ and whether they were ‘misleading or non-misleading’.  The results were then compiled into a single measure of medical accuracy.  Any statement scoring an average of three or more on either five-point scale was marked as ‘medically inaccurate’.  The following is a screenshot from our survey instrument that captures our two scales.

Figure 1

Read more about our panel of experts and data assessment.

EXAMPLES OF MEDICALLY-INACCURATE STATEMENTS

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LOUISIANA

In this example, our panel of experts found the statement ‘the head is erect and the arms and legs are developed’ to be ‘medically inaccurate‘ at week 16 of pregnancy (LMP).

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GEORGIA

In this example from Georgia, the informed consent materials state that at 8 weeks, “reflex activities begin as the brain and nervous system develop”.  Our panel of medical experts deemed this to be ‘medically inaccurate‘.

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Kentucky, Week 18, with 'Medically Inaccurate' Statements Highlighted

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KANSAS

This informed consent booklet claims that ‘by 9 weeks, the hands move, the neck turns, and hiccups begin’.  This is ‘medically inaccurate‘, according to our panel of experts.

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VIRGINIA

Our panel of experts found the statement ‘the embryo continues to grow, forming more organs, including the brain’ to be ‘medically inaccurate‘ for the 8th week of pregnancy. 

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UTAH

According to this Informed Consent booklet,  ‘in the brain there may be electrical waves, and occasionally, the embryo moves, although the woman doesn’t feel it.’  Our panel of experts found this to be ‘medically inaccurate‘.

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SOUTH DAKOTA

In this example, our panel of experts found the statement ‘the fetus at this stage has the reflex ability to suck and grasp’  to be ‘medically inaccurate‘ for week 22 of pregnancy (LMP)

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For more examples, please visit our gallery.  If you would like to view the complete informed consent booklet for any state, explore our state pages, which also feature complete lists of all medically inaccurate‘ statements for each state. 

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