Bonnie Steinbock, "The Logical Case for Wrongful Life
," Hastings Center Report 16, no.
Despite a state statute that prohibited wrongful birth and wrongful life
actions that allege that the pregnancy would have been terminated if the parents had known of the genetic impairment, the state supreme court allowed this case to proceed because the issue was whether the mother would have avoided conception.
The debates in the wrongful conception and wrongful life
cases (collectively referred to as 'the birth cases') are instructive.
Most states refuse to recognize a child's wrongful life
claim on the theory that any life is better than none and on the rationale that public policy frowns on assigning damages for a life.
Both wrongful life
and wrongful birth lawsuits fall under claims of medical malpractice, a subset of negligence law.
Although the wrongful life
cause of action has some conceptual appeal, at least 23 states have rejected it, according to Kassama.
This Note contends that wrongful life
lawsuits should be cognizable because, when viewed through an entitlement model, they have the same economic consequences as wrongful birth lawsuits.
This note also demonstrates the proper stance of the courts in rejecting the wrongful life
cause of action.
However, courts in California, New Jersey and Washington have held that a child can sue for wrongful life
in order to collect damages for the extraordinary expenses that will be incurred during the child's lifetime as a result of his or her disability.
Canadian lawsuits involving claims for wrongful birth, wrongful life
, and wrongful pregnancy have attracted the attention of the media and the public alike.
Since having a very young mother does not amount to wrongful life
, the child is not harmed.
The concepts of wrongful birth and wrongful life
have been invoked in the courts to deal with this issue.
Finally, the plaintiff has to prove damages for wrongful death, wrongful life
(disability), ore wrongful birth, (as in a recent case where the wrong drug was given for a prescribed contraceptive).
DeGrazia presents the claim that in standard wrongful life
cases, such as completely debilitating disabilities, procreation is wrong.
A growing body of literature addresses the use of a tort law claim for wrongful life
when a doctor or lab's mistake results in the conception of a baby with a genetic disease that could have been prevented absent negligence.