28 J. Psychiatry & L. 103 (2000)
Psychiatric Opinion Without Examination

handle is hein.journals/jpsych28 and id is 107 raw text is: The Journal of Psychiatry & Law 28/Spring 2000

COMMENTARY
Psychiatric opinion without
examination
BY PROFESSOR RALPH SLOVENKO
The ethics of psychiatry and of the law are at variance on
psychiatric opinion without examination. The issue was
sparked by an article in Ralph Ginzburg's Fact magazine in
which 1,846 psychiatrists (about 10% of the membership of
the American Psychiatric Association), during the 1964 Pres-
idential campaign, responded no to the question Is Barry
Goldwater fit to be President of the United States? The
ridicule leveled against psychiatry for its readiness to offer
damaging opinions (although by only a small minority of the
profession) led the American Psychiatric Association (APA)
to adopt the Goldwater rule.'
The following was added to Section 7 as paragraph 3 to the
American Medical Association's Principles of Medical Ethics,
annotated by the APA to apply to psychiatry:
On occasion psychiatrists are asked for an opinion about an individ-
ual who is in the light of public attention, or who has disclosed
information about himself/herself through public media. It is uneth-
ical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he/she
has conducted an examination and has been granted proper autho-
rization for such a statement.

© 2000 by Federal Legal Publications, Inc.

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