Yesterday, I had a conversation with one of my doctor pals about the Supreme Court decision that's apparently coming. He was not happy with the characterization of doctors by the anti-choice crowd which he considers calumny. My other doctor friends are equally incensed. In particular the way the anti-choice crowd tells it, many women are walking into the doctors' office and capriciously requesting abortions in their ninth month. According to them doctors are blithely obliging their request. NPR reports that the 90% of abortions are performed within the first trimester.
The implication is that doctors are an unethical bunch needing laws to rein them in. As I said, my doctor pal considers that an aspersion on his profession.
In fact, doctors will only perform late term abortions because it is deemed medically necessary--like all medical decision that doctors must make.
I once asked one of my friends what the importance of AMA guidelines are, as they are not laws but merely guidelines. He explained that when doctors don't follow AMA guidelines and something goes wrong--the patient dies or is injured somehow--they are wide open to lawsuits. Even when doctors do their job properly things happen and patients can become litigious. That the doctor followed AMA guideline is very good defense, while departing from AMA guidelines leaves doctors open to being sued or worse.
Regarding abortions, the AMA guidelines allow doctors to perform late-term abortions only when they are deemed medically necessary. Any doctor who performs an unnecessary late-term abortion is putting themselves in legal jeopardy.