Last Friday, the Iowa State Supreme Court granted two parents’ requests to file “wrongful birth” lawsuits against their doctors, whom they blame for not informing them that their son would be born with cerebral palsy. Had the parents known this, they claim, they would have aborted the child.
According to LifeNews.com, Pamela Plowman and her ex-husband Jeremy Plowman filed separate wrongful birth lawsuits after they said the doctors failed to disclose to them certain abnormalities that showed up on their son’s ultrasounds.
Pamela Plowman’s lawsuit alleges that the mother “would have terminated her pregnancy” had she known of her son’s condition prior to his birth, five years ago. The Plowmans, who divorced after their son was born, are now seeking money to cover their son’s medical expenses, as well as their own “mental anguish” and loss of income.
The Iowa Supreme Court decision reverses a lower court decision that denied the Plowmans’ request to sue on the premise of their son’s “wrongful birth.” The Court ruled Friday that the complaints against the doctors fall under the legal category of “medical negligence.”
The Court’s decision will likely come as a disappointment to pro-life advocates, many of whom find the very concept of “wrongful birth” lawsuits, well, wrong. After all, is any child’s birth wrongful? Is the very presence of life ever unjust?
Writing for LifeNews in 2012, pro-life blogger Rebecca Taylor explained her objections to these legal motions:
The wrongful birth suit is brought by the parents of a sick or disabled child against a physician that, the parents say, was negligent. The wrongful birth lawsuit does not say that the doctor caused the disease or disability, which would be a valid reason to sue. Instead the wrongful birth lawsuit claims [that the] doctor failed to inform the parents of the illness or disability of the child and that had they known, they would have aborted their child. In other words, the parents are saying we wish our child was dead. Because he or she is not, the doctor has to pay.
When put in such stark terms, it’s clear to see why Friday’s decision regarding the Powell family would be a cause for concern among those who seek to defend life at every level of the legal system.