As with contraception, medical care practitioners who do not perform abortions
must fully inform all obstetrics patients of this restriction at the first patient
visit, with this information documented in the patient chart. If a medical care
practitioner suspects that a pregnant patient may have a medical reason for
terminating the pregnancy or may be carrying a defective fetus, the medical
care practitioner has a duty to inform the patient of the problem and the
options available to her. If the patient decides to have an abortion, the
medical care practitioner is not obliged to perform the abortion but has a duty
to refer the woman to a medical care practitioner who will.
The information given to the patient should be complete and reasonably
objective. A medical care practitioner should never withhold information or
downplay the seriousness of a problem in an attempt to guide a patient’s
decision. The essence of informed consent is that the patient has all the
information necessary to make the decisions. A failure to inform the patient
properly can create liability for the torts of wrongful life or wrongful birth.