The United States Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit has upheld South Dakota’s Informed Consent law after years of legal challenges. The statute is one of the broadest in the country, and requires women seeking abortion to be informed of many known risks associated with having an abortion. Planned Parenthood, which challenged the law, continues to argue that abortion should be treated differently than other medical procedures and should be exempt from medical best practices, which require a patient to be informed of risks inherent in any procedure to be performed. Such information, however, is essential for any patient to make a well-informed decision about any medical procedure, especially one that results in the termination of a unique human life.
Kentucky adopted a strong, though somewhat less broad, Informed Consent statute several years ago. Due to a liberal reading of the requirement that the information be given in an “individual, private setting,” women are often given the required information only through a recording over the telephone, with no opportunity to ask questions before they arrive at the clinic for the procedure. The Catholic Conference of Kentucky continues to push for a legislative clarification, to make clear that an individual, private setting means a face-to-face meeting between the woman considering an abortion and either a doctor or another competent professional designated by the doctor. During the 2012 Regular Session, such a bill was passed by the Senate, and a House bill was also amended by the Senate with the clarifying language. Unfortunately, the House leadership refused to allow a floor vote on either bill. CCK will continue to urge the General Assembly to act on this important legislation in the 2013 session.
Tags: abortion, informed consent