A Doctor Speaks: “Horrific” Arizona Law Would Allow Doctors to Practice Bad Medicine Without Accountability

Imagine carrying a baby to term.  You’ve waited nine long months for this moment.  You’ve planned for her arrival, you’ve had the baby shower, and you’ve gone to all your prenatal appointments. All along you are told that you are progressing normally and your baby is healthy. Your delivery day comes and, at delivery, your doctor tells you your baby has a devastating abnormality.  A cardiac defect or a severe structural abnormality or chromosomal abnormality… something that was likely already detected early in your pregnancy. 

You then discover your doctor withheld this information from you for fear you would seek an abortion.  What a nightmare. 

Unfortunately, the Arizona legislation is working to make this nightmare a reality. On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill that would prohibit any medical malpractice lawsuits against physicians who chose to withhold valuable information regarding their patient’s pregnancy that could lead her and her family to seek termination.  Much to my chagrin, this type of legislation is already law in Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Utah, Idaho, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, South Dakota, and is being discussed in Kansas. 

But fear not! Nancy Barto (R-Phoenix), who sponsored the bill, has allowed for medical malpractice suits for “intentional or grossly negligent” acts.  I would be interested to hear where Senator Barto draws her line of allowable omissions and unacceptable exclusions.

Although I am not a lawyer, I am a doctor and what this law is proposing is horrific and against everything we, as physicians, learn throughout medical school and our training.

My role as a physician, specifically an Obstetrician and Gynecologist, is to provide my patients with safe, quality care, and to provide them with information to help them make informed decisions.  I may follow my patients through their pregnancy and deliver their children, but I do not participate in the care of that child or share the responsibilities in raising the child.  Viewing a patient’s ultrasound of her pregnancy and knowingly omitting information that could change her and her family’s life is unimaginable.  And it is malpractice. 

I respect my patients, I trust them to make the best decision for themselves and their families, and I trust my colleagues to do the same.  I, as a physician, have no right to make medical decisions for my patients based purely on what I think is best or based on my religious beliefs.    

As physicians, it is our job to inform patients, not make decisions for them.    

This bill will move to the Arizona House at an undetermined time.

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Follow Dr. Megan Evans on twitter: @ProChoicePres

  • realitycheckrayray


    USE your VOICE or LOSE your VOICE so your (children)daughter’s have a VOICE and FREEDOM of CHOICE!


    Republican Politician’s the Arizona heat is getting to you.  Restrict your time outside and wear a HELMET when your directly in the SUN.  There’s a good chance that the SUN maybe permeating through your SKULLS resulting in SEVERE BRAIN DAMAGE!!


    I’m a NURSE by demanding a PHYSICIAN actually LIE to his PATIENT is unbelieveable I feel we have just stepped back in time wayback in time.  I hope the OB Physician’s refuse to LIE to their patients.


    I don’t think in the HIPOCRATIC OAT it tells any PHYSICIAN or NURSE to LIE to the expectant mother just in case she decides to have an ABORTION to help save her UNBORN CHILD a life full of PHYSICAL-EMOTIONAL PAIN-plus the PAIN it will put on the FAMILY (EMOTIONALLY-PHYSICALLY and FINANCIALLY.

     That’s unethical. I really hope the MEDICAL COMMUNITY in ARIZONA are protesting against this HORRIBEL bill in ARIZONA just passed in the SENATE and now it’s going to the HOUSE.  I hope they do not PASS the bill. 

    REPUBLICAN’S want less GOVERNMENT?  Surely not less GOVERNMENT for WOMEN. Is that how REPUBLICAN’S want to CREATE JOB’S putting more of a DEMAND on the HEALTH CARE SYSTEM that is already in trouble because of my generation BABY BOOMERS who are growing older and there’s a LOT of us.

    There is already a shortage of NURSE’S it’s getting WORSE throw the NEW LAW’S different STATE’S are passin,g the SICK –DISABLED-(MENTALLY –PHYSICALLY) will literaly be like a HOLICOST in a way letting the RICH die gracefully and making the POOR-SICK-DISABLED-ELDERLY feel like they are a DISGRACE to SOCIETY and that’s how they’ll end their life it won’t be GRACEFULLY that’s for sure. 


  • shade-grey

    As someone who faced a devastating ppd I clearly find this to be horrifying. But I do have a fact check question for the doc. Re this quote:

    “Much to my chagrin, this type of legislation is already law in Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Utah, Idaho, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, South Dakota, and is being discussed in Kansas.”

    Link to these? I can’t find ANYTHING in NC like this on the books. Error?

  • jennifer-starr

    It’s called a wrongful birth law, and from what I can see North Carolina definitely does have one. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine : 

     In contrast, North Carolina does not allow recovery for “wrongful birth” claims, on the rationales that it does not want to hold health care professionals responsible for genetic abnormalities they did not cause and to discourage legal liability for actions that would result in an abortion.

    Here’s a link : http://www.asrm.org/news/article.aspx?id=858