Abortion is the most contentious issue in contemporary medical practice. It divides medical care practitioner from patient and health care practitioner from medical care practitioner; it submerges deep ethical problems such as the destruction of medical care practitioners’ duty of fidelity to their patients; and, perhaps most troubling, leads medical care practitioners to support legal positions that are destructive of the privacy of the medical care practitioner–patient relationship.
Abortion also poses medical malpractice risks because the courts do not give medical care practitioners a right to veto a woman’s decision to have an abortion. Even when the courts limit a woman’s access to an abortion, they still leave the decision to the woman. This becomes a malpractice issue when a fetus potentially suffers from a genetic disease or congenital anomaly. If a woman is denied information about the availability of prenatal testing and abortion, the medical care practitioner may be held liable for the costs of caring for the damaged infant.