ACT UP AWARDS GOLDEN URN TO THE:
American Medical Association (AMA)
for supporting forced HIV testing of pregnant women.
The American Medical association (AMA) recently reversed its
long-standing opposition to mandatory testing of pregnant women. As the
licencing body for practicin physicians in the United States, AMA's endorsement
of forced testing provides a dangerous precendent and gives ammunition to
officials seeking to impose mandatory testing.
Since new-borns share the blood immune markers of their mothers
for half a year before they develop their own, testing babies doesn't guarantee
that the child is actually HIV+. All that it shows is that the mother is
HIV+, thus testing her in a non-anonymous, non-consensual fashion.
Testing isn't treatment. Privacy and self-determination are
not privileges reserved for men. Studies hav shown that women will avoid
pre-natal care when mandatory testing has been implemented. This fear is
especially great when women feel that their children may be taken away from
them if they are discovered to be HIV+. Other studies have shown that, when
given culturally sensitive counseling, nearly all women choose to get tested.
Pre-natal care is the way to save babies. Not coercion.
ACT UP presents the AMA with a Golden Urn, awarded to drug companies,
official, and organizaiton who have needlessly increased the death toll
of people with HIV/AIDS. The AMA got it right the first time, but they bowed
to political pressure from the religious right to change sound medical policy
to now support forced testing of pregnant women.