The evolution of ‘wrongful birth’ lawsuits

The following comes from an April 30 story in the Weekly Standard.

On Friday, March 9, an Oregon jury reached its verdict in the case of Levy v. Legacy Health System. The jurors deliberated for just six hours before concluding unanimously that the plaintiffs, Ariel and Deborah Levy, had been wronged by the defendant and were due $2.9 million in compensation. The harmful event foisted upon the Levys was the birth of their daughter, Kalanit. 

Deborah Levy discovered she was pregnant with Kalanit in November 2006. She and her husband, both 34, were surprised. They already had two sons, a preschooler and a toddler, and had not planned on more children. After coming to grips with the prospect of the new addition, they became concerned about the possibility of birth defects. They were worried about chromosomal abnormalities, the risk of which increases steadily with a mother’s age.

Deborah was screened by ultrasound during her first trimester. The results suggested a relatively high—about 1 in 130—chance that her baby would have Down syndrome. As a result, she went to the Legacy Center for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in north Portland for further screening. In the 13th week of her pregnancy she underwent chorionic villus sampling (CVS).

As part of this test, a small amount of tissue was taken from the fetal membrane. A lab operated by Legacy Health tested the tissue, and the results came back normal—23 pairs of chromosomes in each cell. The Levys were relieved.

Six months later, Kalanit was born at Good Samaritan Medical Center in northwest Portland. Her features suggested some form of Down, but the attending physicians checked her CVS test and told the Levys not to worry. When her parents took Kalanit to the pediatrician a week later for a checkup, the doctor performed a blood test and discovered the presence of an extra 21st chromosome. Kalanit did have Down syndrome. The Levys were, by their own account, “devastated.”

Two years later, they filed suit against Legacy Health for $14 million. (The Levys adjusted their claim downward as the case progressed.) They argued that the CVS had been incorrectly performed and the results incorrectly analyzed and communicated; that had they been provided correct information about Kalanit’s chromosomal composition, they would have aborted her; and that they deserved monetary compensation for the harm Kalanit’s birth had caused them.

The term of art for such suits is “wrongful birth.”

To read entire story, Click here.



Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 2:30 AM By Angela
May God forgive them. America, remember when the Isrealites sacrificed their babies to Bael? God’s punishment was severe…we are in the same danger. Reas Isiah to see how God deals with His children when they turn from him. It is not pretty, and we are heading in the same direction. Turn from your wicked ways, worship God and God alone!

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 4:41 AM By Angelo
To sue because a child born was not according to the parents expections. I’m saddened for the Child, having such evil parents.

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 5:52 AM By JMJ
These two should be arrested for causing harm to their child by having that CVS done to it. If they didn’t want to be doing God’s Will of bringing His child into the world, they should have stayed away from each other. They are very selfish and need our prayers for them to get right with God before it is too late. +JMJ+

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 6:20 AM By JLS
So the Levy’s have found a legal goat to dump their own hate on and this turns out to be their baby.

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 6:27 AM By Sawyer
You can thank the Left and secularism for this travesty of morality and of law.

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 6:53 AM By Sandra
This article just sickens me. Kalanit is a beautiful gift from God. These foolish parents need a change of heart, not money for “damages”. The jurors too are so blind. Prayers go out for Kalanit that she is loved and accepted for who she is.

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 6:59 AM By MacDonald
Sounds like China where having a girl is considered bad news. What’s next? Eugenics? Ah, Hitler would be so proud, after his attempts to formulate the perfect little Aryan baby…

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 7:03 AM By Paula
If people don’t want children, they should abstain from sex. People choose their own sexual lifestyle and should take full responsibility for the results of it. (However, all medical tests should be accurate.) We all pay for the deseases spread through personal sexual actions of others. Babies are not a desease.

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 7:08 AM By Jo Ann
What a blessing this child is. Shame on these people who would have killed their own daughter who has brought them many blessing from God. They may never know any grater love here on earth than from this child. Children with Downs ARE the most loving people put o the face of this earth. May God forgive them for they are so ignorant, that they know not what they do.

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 7:51 AM By Thomas Edward Miles

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 8:29 AM By MD
I hope and pray that their little girl Kalanit never comprehends that they would have preferred to abort her. It is sad to read that as a culture we want to pick and choose who is fit to live and think it is appropriate to abort babies that will be born with defects (at least from a secular perspective). This was precisely Hitler’s mentality. We have so much work to do. God Love You.

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 9:32 AM By WOODY GUIDRY
The most angelic person I have ever known was my cousin who had cerebral palsey-yet everyone who came in contact with her was blessed with her existence. Who is in a position to know before birth what the value of that person will be?

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 10:13 AM By goodcause
Yes, this child could become a wonderful gift. But medical science can now offer up what chances the child will be deformed and the probablity didn’t work out this time. No wonder we have so much child abuse in our homes, including Catholic homes. If children are rejected by one or both parents, the child suffers from physical, emotional, and mental abuse…sometimes sexual abuse, too. You don’t need to be Down Syndrome to be rejected, as this child alread is. Plently of “normal” kids are rejected. We need better birth control, and better attitudes, to improve the situation. More prayer, too!

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 10:49 AM By bella
Birth control is what got us into this mess. Once the use of birth control became almost mandatory in women’s lives, women and children became commodities. We could either “make a child” or not according to our own whims. Now we not only can make them, we can even chose their sex and other attributes or reject them if they are born with something we did not choose. We have become the creator even though we do not know what is best for us. Planned parenthood by their own studies have told us women go in for abortions because at least 50% of the time the birth control method has failed. Natural Family Planning and a faith in God and his direction in our lives is what our world desperately needs.

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 10:56 AM By MD
goodcause-birth control is (or at least a major contributor) of the problem. Birth control takes the conjugal act and removes one of the two necessary attributes of the marital act, namely an openness to life. The marital act has to be both unitive and procreative and was designed to be so. It does not mean a couple has to conceive each time they have sex, but it does mean being open to God’s plan, it means being selfless in the giving of their selves in the union of the flesh becoming one as a true Sacramental bond. Contraception has helped create a culture of selfishness and distorted the sexual act to be selfish instead of selfless which is why divorce continues to increase, why America aborts over 3,500 babies a day and why the family is suffering in our society. We as a people have to orientate ourselves to God, His commandments and live as He showed us when He gave Himself, His body to us His Church when he hung on the cross, giving His body for us to have life. God Love You.

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 1:26 PM By Life Lady
“goodcause”, you can’t be serious about needing better birth control. If you actually mean that, well the best “birth control” is for people to abstain from sex, period. That method is 100% effective. Yes, there are children whose parents are not the best parents, who are not or ill prepared to parent, but that is not the fault of anyone but the people who engage in the procreative act which has the potential to bring life. What is actually needed is for people to turn away from the constant sinning that is going on in the world, to turn toward God, and to give themselves over to doing His Will. That is all that is needed. Until or unless that happens anytime soon, we will continue to see these kinds of sad stories and continue to have to endure the oppression of sin and the resulting tragedy that follows it.

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 3:27 PM By k
It makes me wonder what instructions the jury was given. I knew someone who was on a jury and the jury unanimously thought that the person was not guilty, but because of the charge and the instructions to the jury they had to find him guilty.

Posted Wednesday, May 09, 2012 5:34 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
Can you imagine the shock this poor little girl will have when she finds out her parents wanted to kill her because she wasn’t perfect! Last Sunday, my Big Sister and I went to see the movie “October’s Baby”. I strongly recommend this great movie. One of the movie critic blogs said it all, the “professional critics were 70% against it, but the public was some 85 % for it. I have for some time felt that if the MSM critics slam a movie, THAT IS THE MOVIE YOU WANT TO GO SEE! God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher