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Health Care Justice Could Help End Wait for Tubal Sterilization

Implications of health care justice could impact mandatory waiting period for elective sterilization

FRIDAY, May 15, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Health care justice should be invoked as the basis for advocacy for needed change to eliminate the mandatory waiting period for elective tubal sterilization, according to an article published online April 30 in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Amirhossein Moaddab, M.D., from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and colleagues discuss the implications of current policy, which imposes a mandatory waiting period for elective tubal sterilization on Medicaid beneficiaries. They note that women with a private source of payment have no required waiting period.

The researchers write that the waiting period requirement originates in decades-old legislation, which has the effect of restricting women's access to elective tubal sterilization. The authors argue against the mandatory waiting period based on the concept of health care justice, which relies on the ethical concepts of medicine as a profession and of being a patient. Health care justice requires that all patients receive clinical management based on their clinical needs, and protects the informed consent process. The Medicaid policy, which allocates access to elective tubal sterilization based on source of payment, violates health care justice.

"From the perspective of health care justice in professional obstetric ethics in both its deontologic and consequentialist dimensions, the law of unintended consequences clearly applies to the well-intended legislation of the 1970s," the authors write.

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