When does an infant in the womb become a potential burden?
The exact moment cannot be pinpointed, but over the last decades legislation has been passed that acknowledges a previously inconceivable concept: wrongful birth.
Wrongful birth? What is that?
Wrongful death, sure. That makes sense. If a doctor or other caretaker does something he shouldn't have or doesn't do something he should have and a patient dies as a result, one can make the case that a tort has been committed and that reparations of some sort may be warranted. It may have been an accident, but it was an accident that shouldn't have happened.
A pregnancy might be accidental, too, but how can a birth be?
Diagnostic advances in technology have made it possible to detect physical and mental defects in the unborn. As a result, parents can use information provided by diagnostics to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy, and they can sue in Texas when a child is born with conditions that should have been brought to their attention beforehand.
Parents now can file a wrongful birth lawsuit against a physician who, they believe, intentionally or inadvertently withheld pertinent information that might have led them to terminate a pregnancy, in the process burdening them with the expense of caring for a disabled child.
A bill unanimously approved by the Texas Senate State Affairs Committee would prohibit such suits.
“There are no wrongful births,” said the bill's author, Sen. Brandon Creighton (R – Conroe). “Children born with disabilities ought to have the same rights as any able person. Their lives are just as valuable as any.”
Think about it. There's something not right about everybody. None of us is perfect. We're all defective to some extent. Does that make us all the product of “wrongful births?”
Do we need politicians to decide who should or can be sued in such matters? Let’s get this law off the books.