Kan. Bill Sparks Debate Over 'Wrongful Birth' Lawsuits

March 27, 2012 — Abortion-rights advocates are fighting a Kansas bill (HB 2598) they say would legally protect doctors if they lied to pregnant women about prenatal problems to prevent them from seeking abortions, the Lawrence Journal World reports. A provision in the bill would ban lawsuits against doctors for claims of "wrongful life" or "wrongful birth."

Jennifer Dalven, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Reproductive Freedom Project, said, "As a mother who has been through those ultrasounds myself, the thought that my doctor could choose to withhold this information from me and take this decision away from me and my husband ... really touched a nerve."

The bill's sponsor, Rep. Lance Kinzer (R), said that the provision is intended to limit monetary damages and that doctors could still be held liable for medical malpractice or violations of standards set by the state medical board.

Nine states already have approved similar legislation, and Arizona also is considering such a bill (Rothschild, Lawrence Journal World, 3/24).