In re Acuna

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I’ve been remiss in not writing about the New Jersey Supreme Court’s decision in Acuna last week, in which the court held that a doctor “has no legal duty” to tell a woman seeking an abortion that she is “killing an existing human being.” One would think this would be a no brainer. The case was a clear attempt by the antis to get a test case on its way up to the Supreme Court (which it still may be — Acuna has “instructed” her attorney to file a cert petition). And I think it’s a joke to say that such a statement could ever be necessary to informed consent. Talk about condescending to women. Anyway, Lynn Paltrow puts it in perspective for us in a NYT Letter:

The New Jersey Supreme Court correctly ruled in the Acuna decision that doctors should not be forced to tell a woman considering an abortion that she is “killing an existing human being.”

The case itself, which stems from strategic anti-choice efforts to create the illusion that women seeking abortions are not adequately informed, distracts attention from those situations where this really is the case.

For example, women who go to term are not informed that 15 to 20 percent of all pregnancies end in a miscarriage or stillbirth.. They don’t usually know their providers’ C-section rate (among providers this number routinely exceeds evidence-based medical recommendations). Or that many hospitals prohibit vaginal births after C-sections, denying women the opportunity to have a trial of labor and avoid unnecessary surgery.

Indeed, there is little evidence that women seeking abortions are under-informed, but a lot to indicate that women going to term could be better served.

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