An Iowa Senate subcommittee approved a bill on Tuesday that would make it easier for women to sue an abortion practitioner for psychological distress caused by an abortion.
The Globe Gazette reports Iowa Senate File 26, sponsored by state Sen. Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa, would expand medical malpractice provisions in the state to include mental distress caused by abortion. It would allow women to bring civil action for damages based on mental distress alone if she believes it was caused by an abortion practitioner’s “negligence or failure to obtain informed consent prior to performance of the abortion,” according to the report.
“It’s a question of whether or not somebody who in good, healthy mind is sold a bill of goods that turns out to be something that it’s not,” Chelgren told the newspaper. “When someone is under a lot of stress and they’re making decisions, we need medical professionals who are looking after their best interests and not looking after how much money they can make off of them.”
The bill moves to a Senate committee for consideration.
A group of Iowa Democrats criticized the bill, saying the measure could make it much more difficult to be an abortion provider in Iowa. They said the bill does not have a statute of limitations – something committee members acknowledged and said should be addressed. They also said the bill could make it more difficult for abortion practitioners to get medical malpractice insurance because of the increased liability.
State Sen. Nate Boulton, D-Des Moines, said the bill would “run providers out of our state.”
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, who will replace Gov. Terry Branstad as governor when he is confirmed as the new U.S. ambassador to China, said she plans to wait and see what happens with the bill before committing her support.
“… it doesn’t really serve the purpose to head down a path where it just gets tied up in the courts and nothing ever happens,” Reynolds said.
Whether such a law would withstand a legal challenge is difficult to say. However, abortion advocates’ opposition to the bill is telling. In a recent, highly publicized pro-abortion study, researchers claimed that having an abortion does not damage women’s mental health. Yet, their opposition to the Iowa bill seems to suggest that they know this is not true.
Numerous other studies report women often suffer from psychological problems after aborting their unborn child. These studies have found links between abortion and higher risks of suicide, substance abuse, depression and anxiety.
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A 2008 study in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found induced abortions result in increased risks for myriad mental health problems ranging from anxiety to depression to substance abuse disorders. The number of cases of mental health issues rose by as much as 17 percent in women having abortions compared to those who didn’t have one and the risks of each particular mental health problem rose as much as 145% for post-abortive women.
A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found a similar link between abortion and increased mental health risks. The study found that women who had abortions had rates of mental health problems about 30% higher than other women. The conditions most associated with abortion included anxiety disorders and substance abuse disorders.