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States Look To End ‘Wrongful Birth’ Suits


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With a number of parents turning to the courts to sue after unexpectedly giving birth to a child with a disability, several states are considering legislation to ban “wrongful birth” suits.

Lawmakers from Arizona to New Jersey are looking to sharply limit the ability of parents to pursue legal action against doctors when their children are born with conditions ranging from Down syndrome to genetic diseases like Tay-Sachs.

The efforts come just months after an Oregon couple made headlines when a jury awarded them almost $3 million over claims that their daughter was born with Down syndrome despite assurances from doctors that prenatal testing for the condition came back negative.

Proponents of the bills argue that parents should not be able to bring a case under the presumption that the life of a child with a disability is somehow worth less than others.

Parents who have brought such suits counter, however, that for them the issue comes down to quality of life for the child.

Critics of the bills say they’re also concerned that by banning “wrongful birth” suits, lawmakers could open the door for doctors to withhold information from parents without facing any recourse, reports NPR. To read more click here.

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Comments (5 Responses)

  1. Voldieman says:

    These are just more attempts to limit women’s choice. There are states passing laws that allow doctors to lie to women about their pre-natal testing results. Disallowing such lawsuits will give doctors a free pass to lie to women and deny them the ability to make a fully informed choice about their pregnancy. But as always, the life of a hypothetical potential male is put over the life of a living breathing woman.

  2. autismUXB says:

    This is the same political agenda that is against affordable universal health care and is dramatically eliminating supports to people and families with disabilities. The likely course for these children is getting a poor education and simply sitting on a waiting list when they become adults. The issue of quality of life is essential and If the support and services are not likely to be there, then families should find compensation any way they can.

  3. Suelle says:

    Looks like the states are just trying to prevent eugenics. And I don’t see how this would keep anyone from suing a doctor if they lied to you. I think the system as it currently stands encourages doctors to advise their patients with a positive prenatal test to abort. And just because your child isn’t born with a disability doesn’t mean they won’t aquire one later. So who gets the blame then? Who can you sue when your life is “inconvenienced” by having a child with a disability?

  4. Actual Autistic says:

    Whoever AutismUXB is, seems to be blathering on about hypotheticals whilst denouncing life as hypothetical itself. Whatever his beliefs denying a person the license to kill a person because they are disabled or are called disabled is of crucial importance to disabled people and indeed those who are pejorised as disabled.

    Using quality of life to excuse eugenics is disgusting. This isn’t about woman’s choice, this is about equality. It seems the concept of a cruel woman is lost on people sometimes.

  5. Voldieman says:

    Eugenics? Killing? If you are equating making an informed choice about a pregnancy with murder then yes, you are anti-choice and anti-woman. Cruelty? I think cruelty is lying to a family that their child will be born with a disease that will cause them a slow, inevitable and painful death. One of these families had a child with Tay-Sachs, a disease with a 100% slow, painful mortality rate. Inconvenience? This is talking about doctors LYING to families and then taking away any ability for these families to get justice. Some in the disability movement forget that women can have disabilities too and those women deserve the right to an informed choice just like anyone else. Yet that fact seems to get lost in the forced birth outcries against “eugenics.” Forcing a woman to give birth is cruel, lying to a woman because you want to deny her the right to choose is cruel and inhumane. If a man was lied to in a medical procedure there would be a huge outcry, but lying to women – that’s ok, their weak little minds can’t handle the truth.

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