Friday, April 7, 2006
Case Law Development: Florida Supreme Court Upholds Constitutionality of Statute Requiring Physicians to Inform of Risks of Abortion
In a unanimous opinion that overturned two lower courts, the Florida Supreme Court has held that the ''Women's Right to Know Act'' which requires physicians to inform women of the probable gestational age of her fetus and the medical risks of the abortion or of carrying the fetus to term does not violate a woman's right to privacy, guaranteed under the Florida Constitution. "The termination of a pregnancy is unquestionably a medical procedure and we conclude that, as with any other medical procedure, the State may require physicians to obtain informed consent from a patient prior to terminating a pregnancy. This basic premise is without dispute in this litigation. No legitimate reason has been advanced to support a theory that physicians who perform these procedures should not have an obligation to notify their patients of the risks and alternatives to the procedure. Further, we do not view those patients requesting this medical procedure to be less concerned than patients having other medical treatments with regard to the risks and alternatives of that medical procedure, or such information as being less pertinent to an informed patient's decision to undergo or not undergo the procedure.''