“Wrongful birth” – an aberration of the judiciary

roentgenOn Law & Religion UK there is an interesting contribution on “wrongful birth”, i.e. on cases where parents sue medical practitioners in view of unplanned child births. The typical scenarios are (1) the unplanned conception of a child in the case of a failed  sterilization, or (2) a failure of the doctor treating a woman during her pregnancy to inform her of possible malformations of the child that, if known, would have been a reason for her to have the child aborted.

The author of the contribution concludes that judges have a strong tendency of viewing children with a handicap as a “tort”, adjudicating to succesful claimants compensation payments amounting to the full cost of the upbringing of those children. (To adjudicate only the additional cost that is caused by the child’s handicap would not be consistent with the law, given that typically the defendants’ “malpractice” has not caused the child’s handicap, but in fact saved the child from being aborted…).

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