Wed., March 16, 2011 11:15pm (EDT)

Senate Passes Abortion Lawsuit Bill
By Jeanne Bonner
Updated: 3 years ago

ATLANTA  —   Women who seek abortions would be able to sue a clinic if it violates state regulations under a bill the state Senate passed Wednesday. The measure would establish a woman’s right to sue even if she consented to the procedure. The bill passed 36 to 16.

Supporters of the bill say abortion clinics often neglect to perform an ultrasound or allow patients to listen to the heartbeat of the fetus.

And that’s against the law, says the bill’s chief sponsor, Republican Sen. Barry Loudermilk.

“[The new bill] simply cites law that is already in place to give the female standing to take civil action, not criminal, to be able to recover [damages], in the event that an illegal abortion was performed, by what is already law,” he said from the floor of the Senate.

Opponents say the bill would serve only to increase malpractice insurance rates and discourage doctors from performing abortions.

Democratic Senator Nan Orrock of Atlanta said the bill has no other point than to slowly chip away at abortion rights in Georgia. She questioned why a patient's consent would not preclude the right to sue. She said when people undergo other procedures, they must waive their right to sue.

"It's egregious treatment of doctors," she told fellow Senators.