Arizona is following Kansas’ lead in trying to shield doctors for malpractice lawsuits that can arise when a doctor does inform pregnant women of prenatal problems that could lead to the decision to have an abortion. This malpractice shield is the latest in attacks on a woman’s right to access reliable, unbiased health care information and represents yet another effort by Republican legislators to interfere in doctor-patient relationship.
Republican state Sen. Nancy Barto introduced the proposal and is important to protect doctors from lawsuits that endorse the idea that if a child is born with a disability someone is to blame.
These kinds of “wrongful birth” lawsuits usually involve a doctor failing to share or properly communicate the results of prenatal screenings or risk factors to parents. Proponents of the law want to encourage doctors to fail to fully inform women of the risks associated with their pregnancies and any other information that would be relevant in a decision to terminate a pregnancy.
Like other efforts at tort reform, this law is a solution in search of a problem. But even worse, the law presumes that it is the state’s role to dictate what information a woman should have access to and what information she needs to be “protected” from in accessing routine health care services. It’s made all the more offensive by dressing the proposal up as some kind of concern over the value society places on the life of a disabled person.
Photo from sylviadinatale via flickr.