Supposedly there's no need for informed consent prior to an abortion because women who come in for abortions have already made up their minds.
Now, just imagine for a moment a plastic surgeon. Mary comes in asking for breast enhancement. The doctor just hands her a bunch of paperwork to sign, "Here are the risks, swelling, infection, yada yada yada", then does the breast enhancement. Has he done his job?
Isn't it his responsibility to find out why the patient thinks that this surgery is what is right for her? Maybe she thinks her husband will stop cheating on her with his large-breasted secretary if Mary gets her breasts made as big. Maybe Mary is having bad luck on the dating scene and she's convinced that larger breasts will help her find true love. Maybe Mary's boyfriend taunts her for being "flat chested" and she thinks that this surgery will win his respect. Mary can have any of a number of unrealistic expectations about what this surgery will mean for her. Isn't it the doctor's responsibility to make sure that Mary's expectations about this surgery are realistic? That she really understands what she's getting into? Doesn't she need to know the downsides? And I mean fully know them -- not just be handed a list of possible complications.
A plastic surgeon who just operates on all comers would be considered a quack. It's his job to make sure the patient's expectations about what this surgery will do for her are realistic.
Not so with abortion. She asked for it and that's all he needs to know.
Nobody assesses her for risk factors for poor psychological adjustment and informs her if she is at high risk for being traumatized by the abortion experience. The risk factors are well known; but nobody screens for them and nobody informs the woman of what risk factors she has and what the possible negative outcomes may be.
Nobody informs her of the risk that she might not be able to carry a future pregnancy to term -- despite decades of evidence linking abortion to future pregnancy complications. Instead, she's assured repeatedly that she can have a baby later, when the time is right.
And nobody tells her that ambivalence, even rejection of the pregnancy, are normal early on and that they pass when the mother has a chance to bond with the unborn baby. This used to happen at around "quickening", when the mother felt the baby move. Now it often happens earlier, with an ultrasound or a chance to hear the baby's heartbeat. She's not told that her feelings of being unable to cope are normal and typically self-limiting.
Imagine if any other surgery was being performed, on a self-referral basis, on patients suffering from a temporary condition that they're not told is temporary. And I don't mean that women don't know pregnancy is temporary. I mean they don't know that the feeling of being unable to cope -- which is why they're seeking abortion -- is temporary.
If a patient stung by a stone fish begged a doctor to amputate his arm, and the doctor complied without telling that patient that the pain of a stone fish sting will fade in time and he'll be glad to still have his arm, that doctor would probably not only have his license yanked, he'd probably be charged with assault against the patient.
But doctors, 4,000 times a day in the United States alone, let women think that their normal and self-limiting distress is permanent and that the only way to escape it is abortion. They perform irreversible surgery which can do the patient real, lasting harm.
And this is considered somehow noble and responsible.