Wednesday, December 22, 2004

"Wrongful Life" suit rejected

According to this article on, the South Carolina Supreme Court rejected a "wrongful life" suit filed by a woman claiming that she should have been told about her unborn son's brain abnormality in plenty of time to arrange an abortion, and that failing to give her enough time to arrange an abortion forced life on a child who'd have been better off never having been born.

With the decision, South Carolina joins 27 other states that have rejected so-called "wrongful life" lawsuits. Three states, California, New Jersey, and Washington, allow such litigation.

Prolife activists hail this as a victory, but it underscores the need to clearly define what an obstetritian's responsibilities are toward his patients. I've proposed that we need to clearly distinguish between "Hippocratic" physicians -- those who adhere to the Hippocratic oath and who will not kill or recommend death for their patients -- and "Progressive" physicians who place a higher value on either patient choice or quality of life. This would allow those parents who want a chance to reject their unborn child to choose a "Progressive" obstetrician who will share their philosophy of examining the fetus carefully and considering abortion if there appears to be a problem. And parents who want to stand by their unborn child no matter what could choose a "Hippocratic" physician who they know will do everything he or she can to give their baby a chance at life.

No comments: