Massachusetts Wrongful Birth Lawsuit Over Failed Abortion Criticized

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 9, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Massachusetts Wrongful Birth Lawsuit Over Failed Abortion Criticized Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
April 9
, 2007

Boston, MA ( — Pro-life advocates are criticizing a wrongful birth lawsuit filed by a Massachusetts woman who went to Planned Parenthood hoping for a successful abortion of her unborn child. The abortion business ultimately botched the procedure and Jennifer Raper, who is 45, wants it to pay for the cost of raising her daughter.

Though the abortion business is under fire for shoddy medical practices in the case, pro-life advocates say the lawsuit shows how legalizing abortion has changed the culture.

They say it has led to a devaluing of human life when someone files a lawsuit complaining that a baby was born.

“The heart of the abortion culture is not about the rights of the mother. It’s about making sure the baby is dead,” said Father David Mullen, a Bellingham priest, told the Anchor newspaper of the Fall River Diocese.

“The idea is sick — that doctors are supposed to kill a child in the womb and be punished if the child isn’t dead," he added.

Mullen, who is a board member of Massachusetts Citizens for Life, added that Raper is causing the baby girl emotional pain for the rest of her life because she only sees a botched abortion when she looks at her daughter.

Instead, she and the father of the baby should be thinking, "Thank God the mistake we made didn’t result in the death of our child," he said.

"Obviously, somebody convinced this mother she might make some money here," he added.

In the three-page lawsuit, Raper says she learned she was pregnant in March 2004 and decided to have an abortion because she couldn’t afford to have children.

According to a Boston Globe report, Allison Bryant did the abortion on Raper at a Planned Parenthood facility but the complaint said it "was not done properly, causing the plaintiff to remain pregnant."

After the abortion, Raper saw Dr. Benjamin Eleonu at Boston Medical Center in July 2004 and he determined she was no longer pregnant.

However, by September 2004, Raper began experiencing pelvic pain and went to the New England Medical Center emergency room. There, medical officials determined the abortion was unsuccessful.

The woman eventually gave birth to her daughter on December 7.

Genevieve Kineke of Rhode Island, the author of “The Authentic Catholic Woman,” agreed and spoke with the newspaper in an interview.

“Sadly, this is the logical consequence of reducing the human person to a commodity," she said of the lawsuit.

"It follows that if life is not sacred (and even its value is driven by supply and demand) then a child is seen either as a tax break or a tuition bill, as an accessory or even a source of ‘spare parts,’" Kineke said.

“We are so dead to the hidden treasures, the joys and even rich sorrows that relationships can provide that we can’t see past the price tag — and even if this woman wins her lawsuit, she will be the poorer for it," she concluded.

The Globe asked both Raper and her attorney, Barry Reed, Jr., to comment on the case and both declined. A Planned Parenthood representative told the newspaper the abortion business doesn’t comment on pending litigation.

Raper filed her lawsuit last month in Suffolk Superior Court and she must be screened by a special panel before the suit can proceed.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in 1990 ruled that parents can sue doctors in wrongful birth cases but that the financial damages awarded in such cases must be limited to extraordinary medical experiences associated with physical or mental disabilities.