• Sweden edition
 

Doc denies abortion after husband intervenes

Published: 09 May 2012 08:52 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 May 2012 08:52 GMT+02:00

A doctor who cancelled a woman's abortion against her wishes after talks with the husband raised concerns about her mental health has been taken to task by Swedish health authorities for overstepping her mandate.

The patient met the doctor at a gynaecology clinic in western Sweden in 2010 and asked for an abortion, telling the doctor she didn't want to carry the pregnancy to full term.

The woman explained further that she hadn't been feeling well over the unwanted pregnancy.

An appointment for an abortion was scheduled, but the day before the scheduled operation the woman's husband approached the doctor to inquire if there were any other alternatives.

In a subsequent discussion, the woman reiterated her desire to go through with the abortion, according to a report about the incident from the National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

But the doctor instead told the woman she was cancelling the appointment because the patient "didn't seem to be mentally balanced and in a condition to make well-reasoned decisions".

Instead, the doctor recommended that the woman see a counsellor rather than have an abortion, prompting the woman to once again explain that it was the unwanted pregnancy that was causing her depressed state.

In a complaint filed with the health board, the woman described the doctor's treatment of her as "insulting", claiming the doctor had stripped her of the right to make her own decision by unilaterally going against the patient's wishes.

According to Swedish law, it is the woman herself who has the final say on whether or not she should have an abortion.

In issuing it's critique of the doctor's actions, the health board explained that it's not the responsibility of the doctor to reflect on how "well-reasoned" a woman's decision is, but rather to simply carry out the patient's wishes.

The doctor was also slammed for breaching patient confidentiality by discussion the woman's case with her husband and coming to an agreement with him that the woman should have further discussions before having the abortion.

"The confidentiality which covers medical procedures, including abortions, also applies to the patient's relatives," the health board wrote.

David Landes

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Your comments about this article

10:34 May 9, 2012 by libertarianism
How is the doctor personally held accountable for her misconduct??
12:19 May 9, 2012 by Scepticion
Typical Swedish bureaucratic nonsense. The doctor seems to have done a responsible job in this situation - using common sense. Many people have their rights for decisions stripped when there is some issue about mental health. So, a double check might not be a bad idea. In an alternative scenario, one could envision a patient changing her opinion after the abortion, and then she could accuse the doctor of not providing enough counseling.

In any case, this statement in view of the Swedish health care system is just ridiculous:

"In issuing it's critique of the doctor's actions, the health board explained that it's not the responsibility of the doctor to reflect on how "well-reasoned" a woman's decision is, but rather to simply carry out the patient's wishes."

So, should we perhaps start here with the ambulance service, send an ambulance if someone wants one....
14:13 May 9, 2012 by billyb362
So, 'the Father' of the child should have no say in the woman's decision, even though she's carrying his child??

Also, how many months pregnant was the mother? Was she two weeks pregnant, or maybe a month or so away from delivering the baby? And what if her having an abortion would cause the Father traumatic long-term 'depression'?

Showing all favoritism to the Mother is clearly discrimination toward men. This whole 'equality' thing seems very one-dimensional, doesn't it?
15:18 May 9, 2012 by G Kin
This shows just how lightly the decision to have an abortion should be in the Swedish society. Feeling ill during pregnancy can be enough grounds to abort the baby...

And yes, the father has absolutely no say and is offered no help if a woman chooses to abort his child. Tables over turned?. Protect women's right to choose at the expense of men's suffering?.
17:41 May 9, 2012 by bcterry
"And yes, the father has absolutely no say and is offered no help if a woman chooses to abort his child. Tables over turned?. Protect women's right to choose at the expense of men's suffering?. "

Father wants to abort because he did not agree to her getting pregnant, wife doesn't tell him she stopped her birth control to get pregnant without his knowledge, and she says no to abort, but his say trumps, and she has to abort against her wishes.

You o.k. with that as well?
22:30 May 9, 2012 by dizzymoe33
It doesn't matter what state of mind a woman is in it is her right and her right alone to decide what to do with her own body and nobody's else's business!!! The doctor was wrong in how they handled this situation. The woman had stated several times she wanted the abortion and that is what should have happened.
06:13 May 10, 2012 by Grokh
if shes not good mentally doesnt that make it a must to have an abortion?

or should we wait until the child is 4 years old and the mother goes berzerk and kills the child in some bizarre way ?

also sounds fishy the whole discussing it with the husband thing.
14:02 March 19, 2013 by janeway
According to SWEDISH law, which is the law we're talking about here, it's a woman's right to decide over her own body. This is not Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afganistan or any other part of the world that denies a woman her rights.

The law in Sweden is written to protect the woman. If men were having the right to decide, there would be both many, many unwanted children born and many, many women forced to have an abortion.
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