When a woman undergoes an abortion due to an unexpected pregnancy and is not married, the consent of the other man is legally not required. It has been pointed out that there is a possibility that the time to receive an abortion operation may pass.
Regarding this, the Japan Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said that unnecessary consent should not be sought, and indicated the idea of notifying the appropriate interpretation of the law that consent is unnecessary at workshops.
Under the Maternal Protection Law, doctors are allowed to have an abortion with the consent of the spouse. In cases where it is difficult to obtain the consent of the other party because the marriage relationship is practically broken, such as when the husband has been subjected to domestic violence, the consent of the other party is not required.
Nevertheless, it has been pointed out that there are cases where doctors ask for the consent of the other man for fear of being sued, and there is a risk that the time to receive an abortion surgery will pass.
Isamu Ishiwatari, president of the Japan Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said in an interview with NHK, "The medical association believes that consent is not required if a woman becomes pregnant after being involved in domestic violence or a sexual crime. I don't think there is any need to obtain the consent of the other party, except for common-law marriages."
It also states that it will disseminate the proper interpretation of the law through training sessions for obstetricians and gynecologists who are qualified to perform abortions.
On top of that, Ishiwata said, "Medical care is based on a relationship of trust with patients, and doctors make decisions from a position of responsibility, so basically I think that the testimony of the woman herself is sufficient. Even if we respond appropriately, we receive complaints and if there is a case that could lead to a lawsuit, the Japan Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Medical Association will provide full backup."
Women who are legally asked for unnecessary consent
A woman in her twenties who had an unexpected pregnancy several years ago was refused an abortion by a doctor at the clinic because her partner did not consent.
As soon as the woman announced the fact of her pregnancy, she was unable to contact the man she was dating at the time, and she had no one else to rely on, so she decided to have an abortion, but the doctor said, "The consent of the other party. Without it, we cannot operate at home."
After that, the woman searched the websites of clinics and hospitals to find a hospital that would accept her without the consent of the other party, and underwent an abortion.
Regarding the woman's abortion refusal at the clinic, she said, "I was completely blinded by the fact that all my options were cut off. I felt so guilty that I had an abortion, so I was treated like this. I had a strong feeling that I was doing something bad that would get me caught."
According to a group of lawyers who support victims of crime, there are cases in which women who became pregnant after being sexually assaulted and tried to get an abortion were asked for the consent of the perpetrator who ran away and were sent to medical institutions. In some cases, after being refused surgery due to lack of consent, a medical institution was found at the last minute of pregnancy when abortion was possible.
Many doctors “seek consent from the other man”
NHK conducted an online questionnaire survey of obstetricians and gynecologists nationwide in collaboration with a medical information site, and from 274 obstetricians and gynecologists who have worked at medical institutions that perform artificial abortions. got the answer.
Under the Maternal Protection Law, doctors are allowed to have an abortion with the consent of the spouse. , If the marriage relationship is practically broken, such as being subjected to domestic violence by the husband, and it is difficult to obtain consent, the consent of the other party is not required.
In a questionnaire, when unmarried women were asked if they would seek the consent of the other man when undergoing an abortion, 14 (5%) or 33% answered that they would not seek the consent of the other man. Eighty-nine respondents answered that they "seek consent in any situation," indicating that doctors are seeking consent from men who are not legally required.
In addition, 171 people, or 62%, answered that they may not ask for consent depending on the situation, and it seems that more doctors may actually be asking for consent.
When asked about the reasons for seeking consent from such doctors with multiple answers, 71% answered "because they interpret the Maternal Protection Act in that way," followed by 43%, "to avoid the risk of lawsuits." 14% answered that they were taught "because they were taught," revealing that they misinterpreted the law and were afraid of being sued by the other man.
Attorney Sakura Uetani, who is well versed in such issues, said, ``If the consent of the other party is not required, there is a danger that the woman will miss the time to have an abortion and the burden on the mother will increase.'' pointed out the need.
Doctor ``I'm most afraid of being sued''
Some doctors who say they seek the consent of the other man when performing abortions fear the risk of being sued if the operation is performed without consent.
Dr. Taro Sugiyama, an obstetrician and gynecologist who serves as the director of a clinic in Tokyo, has introduced a surgical method that is less stressful on women's bodies, and performs about 50 abortions annually throughout the clinic.
I recognize that the consent of the other party is not legally necessary if the woman is unmarried, but as there is a risk of being sued by the man, I will fill in the other party's signature on the consent form for the abortion surgery as much as possible. It is said that they are asking for
Dr. Sugiyama said, "As a clinic, the most scary thing is that the other man will file a lawsuit. If you are asked, 'Why did you have an abortion without your own signature?' I'm worried about that, and I think that having a signature will make it less likely to cause problems, so I try to get it as much as possible."
On the other hand, Dr. Sugiyama said, ``Because it is women who are physically and mentally burdened by having an abortion, I believe that the will of women should be respected and that there is no need for a legal provision for spousal consent. There is."
Lawyer "Unnecessary consent increases the burden on the mother's body"
Sakura Uetani, a lawyer who has dealt with the issue of legally unnecessary consent being sought by doctors when women undergo artificial abortions, said, ``Women fall into anxiety as to whether they can really have an abortion. In addition, there is a risk that the burden on the mother's body will increase further, such as missing the time to have an abortion as time goes by." He points out that doctors need to change their perception.
On top of that, as a response when a woman is asked for the consent of the other party at a medical institution, ``It is difficult for a woman to complain to a doctor that 'such consent should not be necessary,' One option is to have a support group accompany you and make legal claims on your behalf."
She also said to the Japanese Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which is made up of obstetricians and gynecologists, that it is necessary to create a system that supervises medical institutions and introduces them to medical institutions that perform abortions. Is it necessary?" he pointed out.