Could abortion patients sue doctors for malpractice 10 years later?

Current law allows 2-year window for malpractice


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Women who suffer emotional stress or injury during an abortion could sue their doctor as late as 10 years after the procedure under legislation approved by a House Committee in the state Capitol Thursday.

Current law allows just a two-year window for malpractice.

An OGBYN from the University of Central Florida told committee members that having an abortion is no more dangerous than carrying baby to full term.

Of the 70,000 Florida women who have abortions each year, an estimated 1,800 have minor complications, but freshman lawmaker Erin Grall said she’s spoken to women who didn’t know they had a problem until years later.

“This is especially true of the psychological issues, which may develop over time, or be underlying and triggered by a later event in life,” Grall said.

One of the first questions was death, with the uncertainty of allowing a lawsuit 10 years later. That’s eight years after the statute of limitations has run.

“Are we talking about every doctor’s lifetime savings are now vulnerable to a lawsuit?” Rep. Barbara Watson asked.

The National Organization for Women and other opponents waived their testimony, but the groups picked up two unlikely allies: insurance companies and doctors.

“This is bigger than the abortion issue, ladies and gentleman," insurance lobbyist Mark Delegal said. "This is a malpractice bill that indicts the current system.”

A Tampa woman arrived with her own story of an abortion.

“I made a difficult choice and I had an abortion, and despite growing up in a time and a place with people who think abortion is the ultimate sin, I don’t regret it,” Erin Foster said, adding that there are no scars. “I have thrived ever since."

Federal courts have already stopped last year's abortion law from requiring women to make two visits to a clinic before a procedure.

 It, too was sponsored by a freshman, a practice know as carrying water for leadership.