Suing for Wrongful Birth?

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I’m sure many people have heard of wrongful death suits, but in another sad chapter of American history it is now legal for parents to sue doctors and others for the wrongful birth of a child. I first came across such a case when I was doing research for my Mega Conference 2011 presentation, “Eugenics and Planned Parenthood: Past, Present, and Future.”

In Michigan a couple sued their radiologist who had failed to properly diagnose their daughter during an ultrasound. The parents were upset they were not informed about the child’s severe physical deformities and thus missed the opportunity to choose whether or not to abort the child. The baby was born with femur-fibula-ulna syndrome resulting in a missing shoulder, femur, and fingers.

I remember being outraged when I read about the case. How could parents sue a doctor for allowing their child to be born? Fortunately, the judge in the case ruled against the parents and stated the following:

The very phrase “wrongful birth” suggests that the birth of the disabled child was wrong and should have been prevented. If one accepts that premise that the birth of one “defective” child should have been prevented, then it is but a short step to accepting the premise that the births of classes of “defective” children should be similarly prevented, not just for the benefit of parents but also for the benefit of society as a whole through the protection of the “public welfare.” This is the operating principle of eugenics.
The judge was absolutely correct. The foundation of eugenics (meaning “well-born”) is that natural selection (“survival of the fittest”) is ineffective because people choose to provide for the poor and sick and help keep them alive. Thus, the human race is degrading. Eugenicists believe the only way to better the human race is to actively prevent the conception and birth of so-called “undesirables.”

In a recent wrongful birth suit, a Florida judge ruled in favor of the parents, awarding them 4.5 million dollars. Their son was born with no arms and one leg. The parents “claimed they would have never have brought Bryan into the world had they known about his horrific disabilities.” A member of the editorial board for the newspaper in which the story was reported stated, “Whether these obstacles mean his life is not worth living should be up to him [Bryan] to decide, not to Ms. Mejia [his mother] and a jury of her peers.” But the idea that Bryan should decide whether he lives or dies is also wrong.

As humans we are precious to God because we are made in His image (Genesis 1:26–27). He gave us life, and no matter how deformed that life may appear to the world, every person is created for His glory (Isaiah 43:7). I encourage you to visit this blog to learn about one couple’s decision not to abort their child and the impact their daughter and her short life had, not only on them but on countless others.

As Christians we need to realize that the only basis for valuing life and taking care of the needs of others is Scripture. The only way we can effectively stand up and defend the life of those who cannot defend themselves is when we start with the authority of God’s Word.

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