Who Decides?: Informed Consent Doctrine Applied to Denial of Reproductive Health Care Information at Crisis Pregnancy Centers

Who Decides?: Informed Consent Doctrine Applied to Denial of Reproductive Health Care Information at Crisis Pregnancy Centers
Kassandra DiPietro
Iowa Law Review, March 2022; 107(3) pp 1253-1281
Abstract
Crisis pregnancy centers are largely religiously affiliated organizations that advertise pregnancy support but often do not provide full and accurate information about abortion or contraception. Often attacked for false advertising and operating without medical licenses, crisis pregnancy centers recently have begun converting to medical centers with medical staff on site. Since medical providers owe additional duties to their patients, crisis pregnancy centers operated by medical staff must follow additional procedures, such as providing informed consent. Informed consent doctrine is based on the idea of autonomous decision-making and requires medical providers to accurately inform patients of their viable medical options. Even though crisis pregnancy centers often fail to inform people about critical reproductive health care, people who visit crisis pregnancy centers still would have difficulty bringing a claim of informed consent against these centers. Applying informed consent doctrine to crisis pregnancy centers highlights the discrepancy between the philosophical purpose of informed consent and the doctrine in practice today. Courts should loosen the causation and injury requirements for informed consent doctrine, at least in reproductive health care cases. Making this change would be the first step in holding crisis pregnancy centers accountable and could help courts more accurately apply reproductive-specific tort claims generally.

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