OCCUPIED TUCSON CITIZEN
Arizona recently enacted legislation that, in my opinion, infringes on women’s rights for the sake of feeding a little red meat to the conservative base. At best I consider this legislation superfluous as everyday political posturing. If this doesn’t protect a doctor’s right to lie or lapse into negligence, then I believe other law already covers this made-up problem. But, at worst, this legislation (SB 1359) is written with language vague enough to trump a pregnant woman’s right to be fully informed about her baby’s health for the sake of clearing the conscience of a doctor with an anti-abortion philosophy.
This is the language of Arizona Senate Bill 1359, approved by Governor Brewer on April 17, 2012:
A. A person is not liable for damages in any civil action for wrongful birth based on a claim that, but for an act or omission of the defendant, a child or children would not or should not have been born.
B. A person is not liable for damages in any civil action for wrongful life based on a claim that, but for an act or omission of the defendant, the person bringing the action would not or should not have been born.
C. This section applies to any claim regardless of whether the child is born healthy or with a birth defect or other adverse medical condition.
D. This section does not apply to any civil action for damages for an intentional or grossly negligent act or omission, including an act or omission that violates a criminal law.
There is a similar legislative effort going on in Kansas. In Kansas’ proposed House Bill 2598 the language seems to unambiguously secure a doctor’s right to lie to women if they wish to steer them away from an abortion:
Section 9. (a) No civil action may be commenced in any court for a claim of wrongful life or wrongful birth, and no damages may be recovered in any civil action for any physical condition of a minor that existed at the time of such minor’s birth if the damages sought arise out of a claim that a person’s action, or omission, contributed to such minor’s mother not obtaining an abortion
Unlike Arizona’s Senate Bill 1359, I can find no language in Kansas’ HB 2598 that, at the very least, considers the right for civil action against “grossly negligent” acts or omissions. Nonetheless, Arizona’s SB 1359 may indeed secure the right of a doctor to lie to pregnant women about their baby.
What do you think?
Does the language in Arizona’s SB 1359 protect doctors who omit to tell pregnant women critical information about their own pregnancy to steer them away from an abortion?