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Pregnant in An Age of Compliance

Author: Maria Lyons

In the Summary to this paper the author writes:

In an article provocatively titled Why most published research findings are false John Ioannidis states that “for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias”. In a time when an appeal to “the science” is increasingly replacing more traditional forms of decision-making, the implications of this statement are extremely concerning. Nowhere more concerning than in the field of healthcare, where history has shown time and again what can happen when the “prevailing bias” becomes so powerful it takes on the status of absolute truth. Not only does it create an environment which is antithetical to science itself, in the true sense of the term, it can have catastrophic consequences in clinical practice. 

Focusing on reproductive health and technologies, this paper describes some of the harmful practices which resulted from allowing the “prevailing bias” to suppress emerging empirical evidence. It suggests that we have not learned valuable lessons from the past. Moreover, this paper argues that where one version of ostensibly scientific truth reigns supreme, it is not only competing scientific viewpoints that are denied validity as a basis for decision-making, but all other categories of human experience. 

Drawing on both personal experience and research, this paper attempts to illustrate how this uncompromising status quo has led to a health system in which the principle of informed consent is routinely undermined, in which questionable tactics are adopted to encourage compliance with its care regimes, and in which personal choice is increasingly restricted. It concludes that the response to this presents us with fundamental questions about what we hold most dear, both as individuals and as a society. For it cannot be stated often enough that in a world with no personal responsibility there are also no rights and in a world without risk there is also no freedom.

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The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.

Pregnant in An Age of Compliance © Maria Lyons 2021.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.

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