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    In an effort to protect patients' reproductive rights, many states prohibit health care proxies from serving as surrogate decision makers for pregnancy termination in patients who lack capacity. We explore the case of a 24-year-old developmentally delayed woman with intractable seizures and complex psychosocial needs who was found to be pregnant. Her older sister was her health care proxy and declared that an abortion would be in her best interest, medically and socially; the patient herself lacked capacity to make this decision. Legally, her sister's judgment alone was insufficient to move forward with the procedure. Here we describe our multidisciplinary medical, ethical, and legal review of this case and how, despite agreeing with the patient's sister, legal barriers hindered our ability to obtain an abortion for this patient. Her situation illustrates the unintended consequences of our current approach to surrogate decision making in pregnancy termination. It highlights the need to reconsider the role of health care proxies in reproductive-choice decisions and emphasizes the value of a holistic evaluation of patients' social circumstances. Copyright © 2020 by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.


    Sirisha Narayana, Stephanie L Gaw, J Matthew Aldrich, Elan L Guterman. Revisiting the Role of Health Care Proxies in Reproductive Choice. Obstetrics and gynecology. 2021 Jan 01;137(1):170-172

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    PMID: 33278283

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