Wrongful Birth?

I’ve been thinking long and hard about what to write about this.  I saw a short clip on CNN today at work about a couple that won $2.9 million in a lawsuit over what is being called a “wrongful birth.”  And I just could not let it go without writing something about it.

A couple in Portland sued a company called Legacy Health System after prenatal testing of their child showed no abnormalities (source).  As it turns out, the child, a little girl (now 4) was born with Down Syndrome.

I do not like the term “wrongful birth,” or its use, or the fact that this couple sued and won a substantial sum of money.  Just the act of calling the birth “wrongful” makes me sick to my stomach and leaves me feeling that, if they had known their child would have Down Syndrome, they would have ended the pregnancy.  The article states otherwise, but I highly doubt that these parents will come out and admit otherwise after winning their lawsuit.  If in fact they are being truthful and would not have aborted the pregnancy, why sue?  They claim they sued to cover the expenses to care for their daughter for the duration of her life.  Wouldn’t these same expenses have been there if they had known beforehand?  What changed?

I understand that the doctor that performed the test, and reassured them that everything was fine messed up big time.  But I come back to the main question I have, and that is if they had known, what would have changed?  There is nothing “wrongful” about giving birth to a child with Down Syndrome, or any other disability.  What parent can think it is OK to end a pregnancy just because their child is not “perfect?”  I think that children are amazing, and there is no disability or difference that would make me change my mind.


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