Womens Reproductive RightsArizona Senate Passes Ban on Wrongful Birth Lawsuits

When I first heard of this story, I thought that what was being passed was a law that immunizes doctors from somehow misleading, or failing to inform their patients of critical information that they have the right to know. It appears that is not the case.

Instead, in response to stories like this one, lawmakers are eliminating the ability of parents to file so called wrongful life or wrongful birth cases. Essentially, the argument goes, if the parents had known, and the doctor is presumed have the monopoly on prenatal information, they would have chosen to end the pregnancy. Thus since the essential communication did not take place, or test was not run, a legally created right has been violated. The monetary awards are supposed to compensate for the additional care that the child will need.

I still fear that there is a great potential for such mis-communications and intentional withholding of information, and it is disheartening that potential parents may not be informed of everything they have the right to know.

However, this law does not affect malpractice suits as a general matter. Therefore, if there is some conduct that can legally be considered negligent, or below the relevant standard of care for the relevant medical professional, then the legal right still exists.

Employers to Manage Family Planning Decisions

Arizona is also considering a bill that would allow employers to refuse to provide coverage for contraceptive drugs for non-medical reasons by requiring that women explain why they need it.

Apparently the bill has hit a bit of a speed bump because of the potential for women to have to reveal private health information to their employers. While proponents of the bill state that women's private health information would remain between them and the health insurer, there are aspects of the insurance and billing process that could reveal the information to the employer. Additionally, employees may be forced to waive their privacy rights as a condition of employment.

Under the bill, if approved, women who want to use contraceptives for their intended purpose, namely to prevent conception, may not be covered by their employers, if they have religious or moral objections. Currently religious entities, such as churches already have that right. Meaning, it's not just the Catholic Church that could be denying the coverage, but rather any employer if it had the moral gumption, could decide not to cover birth control.

 

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