Should Parents be Able to Sue Doctors for Not Disclosing Birth Defects So They Could Abort Their Baby?

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 16, 2018   |   10:11AM   |   Washington, DC

Children with disabilities are discriminated against by their own parents in a newly accepted form of eugenics.

Millions of unborn babies with disabilities are aborted every year across the world because they were diagnosed with a defect in the womb. And some babies who make it out have parents who publicly state that they would have aborted their child if they had known about the disability sooner.

So-called “wrongful birth” lawsuits have popped up across the western world from unhappy parents who claim they should have been able to abort their disabled child before birth. Many rest on claims that a medical professional did not inform them about tests, results or other indications of a fetal anomaly.

These lawsuits demean the lives of born and unborn children, and lawmakers in Iowa are trying to stop the discrimination.

The Gazette reports Iowa House Republicans approved a bill in committee Wednesday to prohibit “wrongful birth” lawsuits in the state. It passed on party lines.

State Rep. Sandy Salmon said she introduced House File 2165 after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that parents could sue a doctor for not notifying them of a possible birth defect.

“The parents did not argue, as would be typical in a tort case, that the doctors’ negligent care caused their child’s disability and that therefore they were seeking damages to remedy that,” Salmon wrote at Caffeinated Thoughts in November. “Instead, their argument centered on this: that had the doctors properly counseled them about the test results; they would have chosen to abort their baby. This complaint is the essence of a wrongful birth claim.”

However, Democrats argued that the bill could encourage doctors to hide information from pregnant mothers.

According to the local news:

The bill would allow doctors to withhold information without consequences and create a lower standard of care for pregnant women, argued Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames.

Not every parent told about a potential birth defect would choose abortion, she said.

“Advance knowledge could help save the life of a baby born with special needs,” she said, noting that in some cases complications are addressed by in utero surgery.

Salmon contended that allowing wrongful birth lawsuits encourages abortion because doctors will try to avoid liability.

Nine states currently ban wrongful birth lawsuits and several others are considering legislation to ban them.

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Parents have won millions of dollars in “wrongful birth” lawsuits involving children born with various ailments or disabilities. In the cases, parents argue that they would have aborted their child if their doctor had not been negligent in diagnosing the child’s health problems or counseling them on their options before the child’s birth.

In 2013, a Washington state couple won $50 million in a lawsuit after they argued they were denied information that could have led them to abort their disabled baby, LifeNews reported. The Seattle Times reported the couple knew based on their family medical history they were at a 50-50 chance of having children suffering from a rare but debilitating genetic disorder called “unbalanced chromosome translocation,” but a genetic test failed to detect the disorder in their unborn baby.

In 2014, an Illinois mother also sued her doctor, claiming that he botched her tubal ligation and it led to the birth of her daughter who has sickle cell disease.

Wrongful birth and wrongful life lawsuits are just plain wrong,” pro-life blogger Rebecca Taylor previously wrote at LifeNews.

“The wrongful birth suit is brought by the parents of a sick or disabled child against a physician that, the parents say, was negligent. The wrongful birth lawsuit does not say that the doctor caused the disease or disability, which would be a valid reason to sue. Instead the wrongful birth lawsuit claims the that doctor failed to inform the parents of the illness or disability of the child and that had they known, they would have aborted their child.

“In other words, the parents are saying we wish our child was dead. Because he or she is not, the doctor has to pay,” Taylor wrote.