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Michael Jon Williams, Moorestown, N.J., Published March 31 2013

Letter: A new theocracy in North Dakota

As a former North Dakotan working in Philadelphia, I have been proud to talk about my state of origin, informing people of my home state’s libertarian government, nonjudgmental populace and excellent educational system. After what I have seen this past week, I guess I am down to two out of three.

As a father of daughters, I am saddened for the women of North Dakota. No longer can an expectant mother, after hearing devastating news that she is carrying an anencephalic fetus, one with trisomy 13, or a genetic disorder leading to renal agenesis and a difficult early death of her baby (see Potter’s sequence), have any choices. People they have never met have taken control of her womb and her choice. She is required to carry fetuses to term because they have a heartbeat.

As a physician, I am concerned about my North Dakotan colleagues’ ability to help their patients make an informed decision in a very difficult time. As an anesthesiologist, I will be curious to see if these bills reflect an attempt to legislate Judeo-Christian values onto the populace. If that is so, will labor pain relief with epidurals or adjuncts be the next to go as is written in Genesis 3:16? Also, if an individual has full protection with a heartbeat, when do we as physicians decide whether to resuscitate a delivery or not – at 28 weeks, at 20 weeks, at 15 weeks?

Because of my first-rate history education in Bis-marck, I am, incredibly, wishing to turn the clock back 250 years when our Founding Fathers were enlightened enough to separate church and state in the formation of our democracy. Unfortunately, I feel I am witnessing a government theocracy established, like the country of Iran, only with a Judeo-Christian face upon it.

Williams, MD, Moorestown, N.J., is a physician working in Philadelphia.