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Wrongful Birth?

Loving Disabled Children



We’ve all heard of wrongful death lawsuits, but can a doctor be sued for wrongful birth? Evidently, the answer is yes.

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Chuck  Colson

Doctors and hospitals are regularly held accountable for failing to prevent patients from dying. But if the precedent set by an Oregon couple’s recent legal victory stands, doctors can now be held accountable for failing to prevent patients from living!

Ariel and Deborah Levy of Portland were awarded $2.9 million this month because doctors didn’t anticipate their four-year-old daughter’s Down syndrome. The Levys said if they had known about the disability while their daughter was still in utero, they would have terminated the pregnancy.

As the grandfather of an autistic young man, this breaks my heart. After watching my daughter Emily, I understand that raising a child with special needs is no walk in the park. But I also know the joy of having that child in your life. My daughter would have done the right thing no matter what. But the rich and lasting happiness Max has brought into our lives — well, we consider it a blessing beyond description.

Of course, the Levys say they love their daughter very much, and that they were only interested in the money so they could better provide for her. (And we wonder why medical costs are skyrocketing!)

But I can’t help thinking that when they said their daughter should never have been born, they were influenced more by the attitude of our culture toward children with disabilities than by the opinions and experiences of other parents of “Downs” kids.

As many as 95 percent of unborn children diagnosed with Down syndrome in this country are aborted. But according to a recent survey conducted by Children’s Hospital in Boston and reported by MSNBC, 99 percent of adults with the disorder say they are “happy with their lives,” and almost as many say they like who they are and how they look.

Most tellingly, four out of five parents of Down syndrome children report that “their outlook on life [is] more positive because of their child…”

Folks, the idea that human worth is determined by quality of life might be the most destructive lie of our time, one that the Nazi’s perpetrated. The kind of grim arithmetic this involves is now used to justify disposing of those whom society deems “imperfect;” it is sickening and an offense against the God in whose image they and we are made.

But the real scandal of the abortion rate for Down syndrome children is borne out by the statistics. They don’t live miserable lives, and neither do their parents!

Many of you probably remember a photo that went viral on the internet a few months ago. It was of a six-year-old boy holding a hand-written sign which cleverly parodied an Occupy Wall Street slogan:

“I may not be perfect but I’m happy,” read little Boaz Reigstad’s message. “I am God’s handiwork and I bear His image. I am blessed. I am the 10 percent of children born with Down syndrome who survived Roe v. Wade.”

Well, the love this little boy and the Levy’s own daughter share with their families exposes the lie that their lives aren’t worth living — or that there is such a thing as a “wrongful birth.”

Further Reading and Information

Parents win $2.9M for 'wrongful birth'
Meena Hart Duerson | Daily News | March 11, 2012

Toddler's Abortion Survival Photo, Inspired by '180 Movie,' Goes Viral on Facebook
Gina E. Ryder | Christian Post | October 28, 2011

Down syndrome's rewards touted as new test looms
Kimbery Hayes Taylor | MSMBC.com | September 29, 2011

I Am the 10%
John Stonestreet | ThePointRadio.org | December 12, 2011

BreakPoint This Week: Joni Eareckson Tada
John Stonestreet | BreakPoint.org | April 9, 2012

 


Comments:

Designer children
It's been well documented how that if people such as Beethoven had been conceived in postmodern America, chances would have been good he never would have been born. When people are required to fit certain criteria (physical, social, etc.) in order to have their existence justified, then we have embraced much of the same barbarism of preceding cultures. It's still eugenics dressed up in current Western terminology.
The disabled
I want to thank you for the work that you and your ministries have done for the disabled. I know how important is in many ways and I would like to share with you my story. First of all I am a 64-year-old woman who grew up in a working-class family with a severely disabled, Down’s syndrome, older brother. He was my mother’s first child, the oldest of three. I am told that my mother was advised at my brother’s birth that, since she was still young, she should “put him in a home, and get on with her life”, but my parents knew what that really meant, they were really suggesting that he be deserted and forgotten. Carl never tested above the mentality of approximately 18 months old, and though we lived more than 30 years he never learned to actually talk although he could say a few words. I know it was often difficult for my parents, especially my father, who they tell me punched the doctor who told him that his first son was “retarded”, and refused to accept his disability or even let anyone in the family suggest that it might be true until Carl was almost 5 and obviously couldn’t start school. But they decided to keep Carl at home and he was eventually joined by a brother (Jim) and a sister (me). I will admit that our home life was probably different from the ordinary, but it was filled with love and laughter and learning. Both my brother Jim and I would gladly tell anyone that Carl gave us SO much more than he ever required. He taught us about unconditional love and we loved him more than I will ever be able to explain The lessons that I learned from my family prepared me to face some of the difficulties in my future life. My oldest child, also a son, was born autistic. There is no way I could have coped with that if I had not had the experience, example and training of my family. (I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that God obviously knew what I needed.) Shortly after my son Michael was born I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, the worst kind of multiple sclerosis. By the time my daughter was born I needed a wheelchair, and before long became the quadriplegic that I am today. There were times when I must admit that my faith in God was shaken, but He has always proved faithful. Not only did God give me an extraordinary family to grow up in, but he gave me a wonderful husband who for many years was my loving primary caregiver and a wonderful extended church family. When my husband was taken home in 2004, my care was taken over by my daughter and my church family with the help of my autistic son. Michael still lives with me. He feeds me everyday and does any of the heavier lifting or more manual care that I need. My daughter and ladies from my church take turns and come every day to get me up and every night to put me to bed. We really all have a lot of fun, laughing and sharing and learning new things. Not a day goes by that I do not think of my brother Carl and thank my parents for keeping him in our home and allowing us to learn all the important lessons we learned. Please keep up the good work in the battle. I’m afraid if we don’t win this battle that America will have “sold its soul”.