by Steven Ertelt
March 15, 2006
Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — The Ohio state House has agreed with a state Senate measure that prohibits parents from filing so-called wrongful birth lawsuit against doctors. The suits claim that the physician failed to diagnose a potential physical or mental disability that would have prompted the parents to have an abortion.
The House voted 76-18 to accept the provision, which the Senate added to a bill regulating birthing centers.
The legislation, now heads to Gov. Bob Taft, who is expected to sign it into law.
"By banning ‘wrongful birth’ and ‘wrongful life’ lawsuits, the Ohio General Assembly has wisely rejected the view that death or nonexistence is preferable to life with a disability," Ohio Right to Life legislative director Mary Lally said in a statement provided to LifeNews.com.
"These lawsuits undermine societal efforts to change negative attitudes toward the value of
persons with disabilities, and encourage parents to publicly assert that they wish that their children with disabilities had never been born," Lally added.
The vote comes just a week and a half after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that such lawsuits can be allowed but should be limited in scope. In a 4-3 decision, the state’s high court ruled that wrongful birth lawsuits can proceed, but parents can only collect money for the costs of the pregnancy and birth, and not those associated with raising the potentially disabled baby.
"The premise of this type of lawsuit is that death is preferable to life with a disability. That is unconscionable to me," said Rep. Jim Aslanides, a Republican, said in support of HB 287 during debate, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
The Senate had voted 23-9 for the measure.
The Supreme Court decision came in the case of a Kentucky couple who sued a Cincinnati obstetrician and hospital that told them tests showed the baby did not contain a genetic condition the mother carried. The baby is now 8 years old and can’t speak or crawl because of the disorder.
Justice Maureen O’Connor wrote that the high court overturned a 1st Ohio District Court of Appeals decision saying Richard and Helen Schirmer could sue for costs associated with raising their son — because they couple said they would have had an abortion.
Life without the impairment "was never a possibility in this situation," O’Connor wrote. "The crux of this case is a comparison of nonexistence versus existence, albeit impaired."
Related web sites:
Ohio Right to Life – https://www.ohiolife.org