In recent years, pregnant women have been taking a forefront role in legal battles over the right to abortion. Up to now, women’s control over reproductive rights had been mostly combated in courtrooms by professional groups such as Planned Parenthood. However, recent Supreme Court decisions have opened a new arena for pregnant women to challenge abortion-related laws through their own lawsuits.
A key example of this is the challenge to an Oklahoma law which required that contingently named medical offices provide patients with information about abortion, although the services do not provide abortion procedures. The law was challenged by an individual pregnant woman in the Oklahoma Supreme Court in 2016. In this case, the woman argued that the information mandated by the law was often unreliable and potentially dangerous to the health of the fetus.
Since then, pregnant women have been increasingly taking a leading role in legal battles surrounding abortion laws. Currently ten states have similar laws demanding that doctors provide information about abortion to pregnant women. A growing number of pregnant women have now filed lawsuits in several jurisdictions to oppose these laws.
Typically, these lawsuits are brought by pregnant women who are opposed to the abortion laws in their respective states. The plaintiffs have argued that the laws violated their right to receive complete and accurate medical information, added unnecessary inconvenience and expense, and effectively forced them to accept medical services they did not wish or need. The lawsuit has received support from legal groups and medical groups including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who argue that the laws compromise the quality of care that pregnant women receive by forcing doctors to provide potentially dangerous information to their patients that may not reflect medically sound practices.
The outcome of these cases is yet to be seen, but they might have a profound effect on how abortion-related laws are applied in the future. If pregnant women prevail in these legal challenges, it could set a precedent for other states to consider weakening or overturning existing legislation that require doctors to provide biased information about abortion to patients.
In any case, the challenge posed by pregnant women to the current abortion laws is an encouraging reminder of the power of individual rights and autonomy. In our current legal landscape, women’s constitutional rights still remain vulnerable to abuse. As these cases continue to unfold, it is important to recognize pregnant women for their proactive stance in promoting their own health and well-being.