by Steven Ertelt
February 16, 2006
Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — Ohio would become the seventh state to prohibit so-called wrongful birth lawsuits under a bill that would shield doctors from those who say they did not get detailed information about an unborn baby’s disabilities that may have prompted an abortion.
On Ohio Senate committee signed off on the bill Wednesday and it now heads to the full state Senate for debate and a vote.
The bill is a response to two cases currently before the Ohio Supreme Court where women have sued doctors saying they would have had abortions had they been sufficiently informed about the disabilities.
"The premise of these lawsuits is that somehow death is preferable to life with a disability, and that is just not true and is not something we should condone," Sen. Jim Jordan, a Republican who is sponsoring the measure, told the Columbus Dispatch newspaper.
"Life is sacred, and all life should be protected," he said.
But Anne Valentine of the Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers, disagreed and told the committee that physicians shouldn’t be let off the hook for making a mistake of misdiagnosing a disability.
Under the measure, which is an amendment to an unrelated medical licensing bill, doctors could not be sued for misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose a disability that parents say should have been caught.
According to Valentine, Ohio law is already strict in this area, allowing for only economic damages, the extra costs of raising a disabled child, in such cases.
The Ohio Supreme Court has also already weighed in and determined in 2000 in a 4-3 ruling that state law does not recognize wrongful birth claims.
If the larger bill passes the Senate, the House must concur with the amendment, but Rep. James Aslanides, the sponsor of the original bill, told the Columbus paper he didn’t think that would be a problem.