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The Arizona Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow doctors withhold information about prenatal problems if it could make the decision to have an abortion more likely.
Republican state Sen. Nancy Barto introduced the measure to protect doctors from so-called “wrongful birth” lawsuits.
Such lawsuits are sometimes filed by parents of children with disabilities who believe that doctors withheld information that could have led to the decision to have an abortion.
“When I first heard of this issue, I couldn’t believe that these lawsuits are actually happening,” Barto told KTAR last month. “That some couples, after they give birth to their child that has a disability, would claim that the child should not have been born, and would sue to get damages.”
“The lawsuits that are being brought imply that the physician is somehow at fault if the child is born with a disability,” she added.
Barto claimed that a doctor could still be sued if there was evidence of wrongdoing.
“If a doctor intentionally or knowlingly withholds information then a lawsuit could be appropriate,” she said.
Opponents of the bill insist that it’s a solution in search of a problem.
“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,” Care2′s Jessica Pieklo wrote. “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.”
Barto’s proposal passed the Arizona Senate 20-9 and will now go to the state House.