Arizona and Kansas Pursue Laws Letting Docs Hide Information from Women

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/naes/3270304375/sizes/m/in/photostream/">naes</a>/Flickr


Arizona advanced a bill this week that would make it legal for doctors to withhold information from pregnant women about birth defects and other health conditions that might cause them to choose an abortion. The bill barring “wrongful birth, life, or conception” claims passed in the state senate earlier this week and now advances to the house.

The legislation indemnifies medical professionals from being sued for failing to disclose information about fetal abnormalities that might lead a woman to terminate her pregnancy. Thus, a woman living in the state would no longer be able file suit against her doctor if she gives birth to a child with serious impairments.

From the Claims Journal:

Cathi Herrod, president of the conservative advocacy group Center for Arizona Policy, which proposed the bill to Arizona legislators, said she opposes the lawsuits because they give the impression that “the life of a disabled child is worth less than the life of a healthy child.”

“Public policy should reflect in Arizona that no child’s life is a wrongful life,” Herrod said.

It would also prevent suits stemming from a failed vasectomy or tubal ligation (often referred to as “getting your tubes tied”).

The Kansas legislature is also considering a bill that would ban malpractice suits against doctors who withhold information from women in order to prevent abortions. That 68-page bill includes a number of other abortion restrictions, including barring medical residents of the University of Kansas Medical Center from providing abortions and requiring women to listen to the fetal heartbeat before undergoing the procedure..

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.