Medical liability insurance as a barrier to the provision of abortion services in family medicine

Am J Public Health. 2008 Oct;98(10):1770-4. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.136325. Epub 2008 Aug 13.


Family physicians who wish to provide abortions have been subject to both denial of coverage by medical liability insurers and the imposition of large premium increases. These policy decisions by insurance companies raise questions about the role of family physicians in abortion care and about the autonomy of medical specialties in defining their scope of practice. We review the issues specific to abortion services in the primary care setting and examine the broader implications for the medical profession. Finally, we review how advocacy and improved regulation of the insurance industry could help to ensure that clinicians who are trained and willing to provide services to their patients are not limited by the decisions of medical liability insurers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abortifacient Agents, Steroidal
  • Abortion, Legal* / economics
  • Abortion, Legal* / methods
  • Abortion, Legal* / statistics & numerical data
  • Actuarial Analysis
  • Family Practice / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Insurance Claim Review / organization & administration
  • Insurance Coverage / economics
  • Insurance, Liability* / economics
  • Liability, Legal
  • Malpractice / economics
  • Mifepristone
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Physician's Role*
  • Pregnancy
  • Primary Health Care / organization & administration
  • Professional Autonomy*
  • United States


  • Abortifacient Agents, Steroidal
  • Mifepristone