Ok, I'm going to risk offending some folks here. I was on the bike at the Y, reading People when I should have been reading something for school, and I found an article about a family who sued their OB-GYN after their daughter was born with spina bifida. Theirs was a "wrongful birth" suit. I can't find that article online, but here is a link to a similar story on the CBS site.
To start -- I don't have a disabled child, and I can only imagine how difficult it would be to parent a child with significant medical issues. OK, I really can't imagine, to be truthful. There's the disclaimer.
But I guess I was struck, initially, by the wording of the thing. What does it mean for a child's birth to be "wrongful"? Is that the same as just plain "wrong"? Is there a difference between the birth being wrongful, and the life itself being wrongful? Does this mean that the child's existence is wrong? How blurry are the lines of distinction between these questions? The excerpt below raises a key concern:
“It seems as though we're questioning not only the value of life, but the value of people who are not perfect,” says Anita Allen-Castellito, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania and a bio-ethicist. Castellito worries that Ryan will be damaged emotionally if he learns that his mother testified that she would have had an abortion if she had known about his condition. “Realistically how many children are going to hear that complicated story as opposed to the simpler message that ‘I didn't want you, you're disabled, I didn't want a disabled child,’” says Castellito.
This is an admittedly brief and inelegant attempt to discuss a very complex and highly emotional issue. I'm sure there are many other posts that might deal with it more thoroughly, which I'd love to you to forward to me if you find them! But I wanted to at least ask the questions.
I've been following the blog of a friend-of-a-friend who's son (one of twins) was born with serious health complications. And I've been deeply moved by the incredible care and concern he and his wife have lavished on their boy. It competes with the time they have for their new daughter, and seems to be exhausting. But they've named him in honor of strength, and faithfulness, and Christ himself. They post pictures of him next to his daddy's marathon medals, and cheer him on as he grows. What a beautiful, beautiful gift to begin this little life, and to proclaim its value.