An Iowa Republican has introduced a bill into state legislature that would allow women who experience "abortion regret" — a made-up psychological condition that isn't recognized by any major medical organization — to sue their doctor. Curiously, the legislator's bill doesn't allow women who have regretted having children to sue their doctors. Women who are womaning the proper way can only regret one thing, you see. And that's not having babies.
Rep. Greg Heartsill — who does not have to worry about getting pregnant, like, ever, because he is male — introduced a bill this week that would,
allow a woman to sue a physician to "recover damages for any physical injury or emotional distress" that results from the "physician's negligence or failure to obtain informed consent." …
In addition to suing for physical injury, a patient could sue for emotional distress, which would include a negative emotional or mental reaction, grief, anxiety, or worry.
for up to 10 years after the completed abortion procedure, even if there was no actual physical malpractice. This means that doctors can be punished retroactively for performing a safe, legal medical procedure on patients who know what abortion is and have consented to it. How dare a doctor not be able to see into a patient's psychological state ten years into the future?
Heartsill's moronic bill (which, trust me, will never be enacted because it's probably just something Heartsill introduced to get pro-lifers frothy enough to open their wallets) doubles down on the favored anti-choice narrative that women are lost little sheep who don't know what's best for them (motherhood. It's always motherhood.) and abortion providers are predatory, profit-hungry monsters trying to abort their way to that Jordan Belfort life.
But Heartsill's got it backwards. Pro-choice advocates aren't the ones trying to bully and intimidate women into undergoing or not undergoing a medical procedure; they're pro choice and, ideally, would want all women to make decisions about their bodies for themselves. Abortion doctors aren't the ones lining sidewalks outside of OB-GYN's trying to convince pregnant women to steal away with them to the abortin' chambers. Only one side of this "debate" is instructing women what is best for them, medically. Wouldn't most of the decisions that came as the result of some influence outside of a woman's organic feelings about her desire to be pregnant, then, be from the pro-life side? And if that's the case, wouldn't it make more sense to allow women who had babies and then regretted it — for whatever reason — to sue the sidewalk protesters who lied to them about how pregnancy and motherhood would basically be a feminine frolic through a field of daisies? Why doesn't Heartsill's bill allow parents who gave birth to severely disabled babies only to watch them slowly and painfully die at great medical expense to sue the crisis pregnancy center that lied to them? Could the husband of a woman who dies during childbirth (which is 14 times more deadly than abortion) sue the OB-GYN for failing to warn them of the dangers of pregnancy? Choosing whether or not to be a mother is a serious decision. Naturally, there will be people on both sides of it who regret their respective choices. So why only allow makers of one legally sanctioned choice to sue?
The answer's obvious: Heartsill and people who agree with him aren't really after what's best for women; they're trying to intimidate doctors into abandoning their practices, and thus eliminating women's choice by default. And, as other writers have deftly pointed out, if bills like Heartsill's are ever enacted, women desperate to have abortions will be forced underground, subjecting themselves to unsafe conditions like those faced by women pre-Roe. Wonder if Iowa Rep. Heartsill would regret that?
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