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Time Constraints

The Supreme Court decision that upheld a woman's right of privacy in deciding on abortion limited this right to the period when the fetus is not viable. As a purely medical matter, the safety and ease of induced abortion decrease as the pregnancy progresses. This puts a time restraint on the provision of abortion services. A patient must be provided necessary information and care in a time frame that maintains her options and safety.

When physicians first see patients in the second trimester, they must make special efforts to get test results or referral appointments quickly. The physician who knows that time is short should personally ensure that the patient has access to timely care. A physician whose delay prevents the patient from aborting a damaged baby can be liable for the consequences.

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