Linda Upmeyer

House Republicans want Iowa to join a dozen states that bar lawsuits against doctors who do not provide pregnant women with information about abnormalities that might prompt some women to seek an abortion.

“We want to make sure we’re protecting physicians in those circumstances,” House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, a Republican from Clear Lake, said Thursday. “…If there was a legitimate medical malpractice claim or something, that’s separate from this issue.”

This fall, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled a Fort Madison woman had a right to sue her doctor after giving birth to a child with cerebral palsy. Representative Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, a Democrat from Ames, said the woman has argued she might have chosen to have an abortion if she’d known she’d give birth to a “severely disabled child that will never walk or talk.”

“Whether you disagree with what decision that woman will make or not, we certainly deserve to have the information to make our health care decisions,” Wessel-Kroeschell said.

A bill eligible for debate in the Iowa House would prohibit so-called “wrongful birth” lawsuits that seek money to cover the lifetime costs of caring for a child with profound disabilities.

(Reporting by Iowa Public Radio’s Joyce Russell)