Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"Wrongful birth" lawsuit

Portland, Oregon, June 13, 2009 - A South Portland couple, whose two-year-old daughter was born with Down syndrome, are suing their doctor for more than 14 million dollars to cover the costs of raising her and providing her education, medical care and speech and physical therapy. Deborah and Ariel Levey, whom were reportedly given the wrong information after a prenatal test for Down syndrome, say they would have terminated the pregnancy if they had know their daughter had the condition. As reported by the Oregonian:

The Levys declined to be interviewed. Their attorney, David K. Miller, said the toddler is as dear to them as their two older children but they fear being perceived as "heartless."

"They feel very strongly that what happened to them was wrong," Miller said. "They were given incorrect information, and their lives have changed because of it."
Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, said fewer than 10 such suits are filed in the U.S. each year. And in order for the suits to succeed, courts must be willing to rule that "it's better not to exist and give damages for having to exist," Caplan said.

The 1973 decision Roe v. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for such suits because parents generally must claim that they would have aborted the

The "wrongful birth" and "wrongful life" lawsuits are controversial. High courts in roughly two-thirds of states have allowed the suits. Some states -- including Michigan, Georgia and Utah -- have banned them.

The story in full is here.