Friday, September 23, 2005

Here's a proposal on "wrongful life" suits

Wisconsin state Senator Neal Kedzie has authored a bill that addresses "wrongful birth" and "wrongful life" suits, which Wisconsin residents are currently allowed to file against health providers that didn't facilitate prenatal diagnoses and abortions in pregnancies that result in the birth of a disabled child.
Kedzie's bill, SB 71, creates a new law that would prevent the mother of a child born with a disability from claiming economic or noneconomic damages from a doctor on the basis that the doctor omitted a procedure, potentially revealing a disability, which led the mother to not have an abortion.

Also under Kedzie's bill, disabled children cannot claim damages on the basis that the doctor omitted a procedure that could have potentially revealed a disability, which led to the mother's decision to not have an abortion.

Wrongful life and wrongful birth lawsuits set a discomforting precedent, Kedzie said in his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The committee took no action on the bill.

"These lawsuits are based on the idea that the lives of certain people-disabled people-are inherently wrong, and that death is preferable to life with disabilities," said Kedzie, R-Elkhorn. "The very idea that a person's birth or life is wrong is repugnant to me."

Prolifers support the bill, but
But Kelda Helen Roy, executive director of NARAL Pro Choice Wisconsin, said in a written statement that Kedzie's bill, which she called the "right to lie" bill, endangers the rights of pregnant women and is "an unprecedented attack on medical ethics and patients' rights."

"It encourages doctors to withhold critical information from patients that would allow them to make fully informed decisions about their own health care," she said. ,,,,

A legislative council analysis of Kedzie's bill shows that people could claim damages if a doctor is found to be intentionally negligent or intentionally withholding medical information from a patient. ....

Nicole Safar, public policy analyst for Planned Parenthood, said the bill hinders the ability of women to have abortions.

"The purpose of this bill is to place an undue burden in the path of a woman seeking an abortion, by depriving her of information needed to make an informed choice," Safar said in written remarks.

If these abortion supporters are so keen on women getting information, why aren't they backing a bill that would allow women to sue if a doctor failed to give her information that would have led her to reject abortion?

I've written to Sen. Kedzie regarding this.

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