Medical Negligence and Wrongful Birth Actions: Australian Developments
Journal of Medical Ethics. 1997 Oct; 23(5): 319-322.
Wrongful birth actions aim to compensate litigants who are negligently deprived by health professionals of their right to reproductive choice. Access to safe and legal abortion is integral to the action and wrongful birth claims in the United Kingdom have been facilitated by the Abortion Act 1967 (as amended). The recent Australian case CES v Superclinics (1995) 38 NSWLR 47 shows how judicial confusion about the legality of abortion can result in judges condoning medical negligence. The Superclinics case also suggests that doctors are not required to provide pregnant women with the same standard of care as other patients. These developments show that law can become incoherent and health professionals can act negligently with impunity when reproductive choice does not have a secure legal foundation.
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