A California couple has successfully settled with the medical groups and physicians responsible for their obstetrical care after their daughter was born with Down syndrome. They claim they should have received a diagnosis prenatally, so they could have had an abortion.
Recently released court papers showed the parents — who have not been named in the media — had sued Axminster Medical Group Inc., Westchester Advanced Imaging Medical Group Inc. and Drs. Glenn P. Wedeen, Christopher Meilleur, and Mia J. Sanders Madati in 2015. Just a day before the trial was scheduled to begin, however, papers were filed indicating a settlement was reached. The terms of the settlement were not clear, but the couple had originally been asking for $80 million.
The parents claim the mother underwent a second trimester ultrasound. While it is not clear if she ever asked for prenatal testing or if there were any soft markers seen on the ultrasound, the parents felt that they should have received a prenatal diagnosis so they could have aborted their daughter. Their daughter, born in 2014, was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect after birth, which was corrected through surgery.
Wrongful birth lawsuits are a concerning new trend for parents who fail to receive a prenatal diagnosis of a disability, and they’re happening across the globe. Though prenatal testing is a tool that can be extremely beneficial to those who choose life, and provide the preborn child with the health care they need even while still in the womb, it is also often hijacked by many and used as a tool to weed out children that some people see as unworthy of life.
What makes these cases even worse is that an abortion after a prenatal diagnosis often takes place in the second trimester, meaning the preborn child will be put through a violent, painful abortion procedure in which they are literally ripped apart, limb from torso. And it takes place when the child can almost certainly feel pain.
And what these parents are essentially saying is that killing their children — who are already born — in such a violent, horrific manner would have been preferable to the life they have with their children now. The parents who file these wrongful birth suits either do not realize, or do not care, that one day, their children will grow up, and could potentially find out that their parents lawsuits saying they wish they had never been born.
The defense many use over such wrongful birth suits is that people with Down syndrome, and other disabilities, are “suffering,” and therefore, it would have been better had they been aborted. Yet this could not be further from the truth, especially when it comes to Down syndrome.
Advancements in science, medicine, education, and therapy mean that there has literally never been a better time to raise a child with Down syndrome. Adults with Down syndrome are living longer, healthier, more successful and independent lives than ever before, and surveys have found that almost all of them report being happy with themselves and with their lives. Families who have a loved one with Down syndrome likewise report having seen a positive effect on their lives. And people with disabilities are increasingly speaking out, calling for an end to these eugenic abortions, and fighting back against the idea that they are better off dead.
A disability is not a reason to deny someone of life, or to decide for them that their life isn’t worthwhile, meaningful, or valuable. People with disabilities have just as much of a right to live as the able-bodied, and this kind of discrimination — with able-bodied parents deciding that their disabled children should not be alive — needs to end.
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