The Story: According to The Oregonian, a Portland-area couple was awarded $2.9 million in a ‘wrongful birth’ after their child was born with Down syndrome.
The Background: In June 2007, Ariel and Deborah Levy were “overcome with excitement, then shock when hospital staff told them their daughter, Kalanit, looked like she had Down syndrome.”
Mrs. Levy said she had a prenatal test that showed they’d “have a normal, healthy child.”
The Levys filed suit against Legacy Health, claiming that Deborah Levy would have aborted her pregnancy had she known her daughter had the chromosomal abnormality. The couple sued the hospital and lab for for the extra lifetime costs of caring for their daughter.
The jury agreed and awarded the couple $2.9 million.
Why It Matters: “There is no place in a society based on human equality and the sanctity of life for lawsuits that ask juries to determine that a baby was wrongfully born,” says Christian bioethicist Wesley J. Smith. In an article for the Daily Caller Smith adds,
The time has come to reverse course. We could begin with states prohibiting wrongful birth lawsuits as a matter of public policy. We may have a right to have a baby, but we don’t — or at least shouldn’t — have a right to the baby we want. Most importantly, none of us should ever be declared by a jury to be a wrongful life. May Kalanit never learn that her parents would have prevented her from ever being born.
Like “selective reduction” and after-birth abortion, “wrongful life” is yet one more chilling euphemism in the culture of death’s lexicon. The banality of the language and the frequency with which such stories appear makes is easy to shake our heads and move on to the next bit of news; with each story we run the risk of succumbing to “outrage fatigue.” But as Christians we must never tire of carrying the Gospel-message that God cares for the weakest and most vulnerable among us. Until Christ returns, we must be tireless in opposing the forces that seek to destroy the smallest of God’s children.