'Wrongful Birth' Laws Proposed in Several States

Several states are considering legislation, known as "wrongful birth" laws, that would prevent parents from suing their doctors for not warning them about potential problems with unborn babies, National Public Radio reports.
by | May 15, 2012

Several states are currently considering legislation, known as a "wrongful birth" law, that would prevent parents from suing their doctors for not warning them about potential problems with unborn babies during pregnancy, National Public Radio reports.

Advocates for abortion rights have opposed the proposals, according to NPR, claiming they give doctors the right to withhold information from expectant parents so that they won't have an abortion. Supporters assert that the bills ensure that the life of a disabled child is valued as much as the life of a healthy one.

Arizona, Kansas and New Jersey are among the states where bills have been introduced, according to the news service.

The Arizona proposal would still allow lawsuits for "intentional or grossly negligent acts," according to NPR, but the Kansas and New Jersey bills do not include that caveat. Kansas also garnered abortion headlines Tuesday when Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill that would allow pharmacists to refuse to issue drugs that might lead to an abortion, according to the Kansas City Star.

NPR noted that wrongful birth lawsuits in Florida and Oregon have yielded multi-million dollar settlements for parents who sued their doctors after a child was born with birth defects.

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