It’s called a “wrongful birth” bill and it’s all about preventing women from having an abortion, even if it kills them. The Arizona Senate passed a bill this week that gives doctors a free pass to not inform pregnant women of prenatal problems because such information could lead to an abortion.
In other words, doctors can intentionally keep critical health information from pregnant women and can’t be sued for it. According to the Arizona Capitol Times, “the bill’s sponsor is Republican Nancy Barto of Phoenix. She says allowing the medical malpractice lawsuits endorses the idea that if a child is born with a disability, someone is to blame.” So Republicans are banning lawsuits against doctors who keep information from pregnant women so as to prevent them from choosing to have an abortion.
This bill is actually more disturbing than the Republicans seem to realize. Giving doctors such a free pass risks the lives of both the expectant mother and the fetus she carries. Prenatal care isn’t just for discovering birth defects and disabilities. It is also for discovering life threatening issues such as an ectopic pregnancy which often requires an abortion to save the life of the mother. With rare exceptions, ectopic pregnancies are not viable anyway, but Republicans are allowing anti-abortion doctors to keep life threatening information from pregnant women all because they are obsessed with stopping any and all abortions. Women may not know they have a life threatening condition until they die on the emergency room table. And the doctor couldn’t be sued.
This is an egregious bill that will lead to higher mortality rates for infants and mothers. Doctors should be held accountable for not disclosing information learned from prenatal examinations. Pregnant women have the right to know if their future child is going to have a disability or if the pregnancy may require an induced abortion to save their lives. Any decision that is made as a result of the information is the mothers own. Doctors should not be allowed to make decisions for pregnant women as a way to prevent abortions. Women have the right to make their own health decisions and hiding critical information is irresponsible, unconscionable, and risks lives. In the end, Republicans are only putting more lives in jeopardy. They might as well call this the ‘let women die’ bill.