Wrongful Birth Verdict Signals Growth of the Culture of Death, Threatens the Disabled
Killing a disabled child in the womb is not morally distinct from killing a disabled child after birth.
The mother and father claimed in their lawsuit that if they knew that Kalanit had an extra 21st chromosome they would have had her killed by abortion. Only, they used the sterile term taken from contemporary Orwellian newspeak, they said they would have "terminated the pregnancy". This verdict in Oregon is about selectively killing disabled children. It is another form of feticide. It takes the evil a step further by insisting that medical professionals have a duty to tell the parents if the child is disabled so that they can choose to kill their child by abortion. Our compelling duty is to replace the current culture of death, nihilism, and instrumentalism with a new culture of life and a civilization of love.
PORTLAND, OR (Catholic Online) - Little Kalanit Levy is four years old. She lives with her mother, Deborah, father Ariel, and two brothers in Portland, Oregon. Last week the Levy's received a 2.9 million dollar jury verdict against Legacy Health System.
They were represented by a lawyer named David Miller who filed the lawsuit which gave rise to this verdict. Originally, it demanded 7 million dollars. The theory upon which the case was based is called "Wrongful Birth". The case lasted ten days and the jury took only six hours to reach a unanimous verdict in Multnomah County Circuit Court. The implications of this verdict are ominous on many fronts.
In most medical negligence or malpractice cases, the medical service professionals and providers are found liable for violating the standard of care. That violation must be shown to have caused economic damages, such as proximately causing an injury to the child or to the mother.
However, in Wrongful Birth" cases, the "damage" alleged is the very existence and birth of the child. That's right. This is what lawyers call the "theory of the case", the very existence of the child is the alleged injury. This cause of action was for a "Wrongful Birth" of a little girl.
Little Kalanit has Down syndrome. It is also called Trisomy 21 because these children have an extra 21st chromosome. In these children the presence of an extra chromosome affects their development. It occurs in roughly one of every 800 births.
Sadly, statistics demonstrate that between 85% and 95% of parents who receive a prenatal diagnosis which indicates that their little boy or girl has this extra chromosome choose to kill them through procured abortion rather than welcome them.
This decision to take the life of a disabled child in the womb is the worst kind of disability discrimination. It is deadly for the child. However, under the current positive law in the United States, this violation of the fundamental Human Right to Life of that child is legal throughout the entire nine months in which they live in the first home of the whole human race.
Ariel and Deborah Levy sued, claiming that the medical providers improperly read sonograms as well as a prenatal chorionic villus sampling. They gave the parents an incorrect pre-natal diagnosis. They were told that their little girl was "normal".
The mother and father claimed in their lawsuit that if they knew that Kalanit had an extra 21st chromosome they would have had her killed by abortion. Only, they used the sterile term taken from contemporary Orwellian newspeak, they said they would have "terminated the pregnancy".
The doctors did not tell them their little girl baby was disabled. Because of that they did not abort her. That was the basis of their case. And, they succeeded. The natural response that comes to most people who read the facts of this case is based upon the fact that the truth revealed by the Natural Law is still at work in our conscience. We know that it is wrong to take innocent human life.
We also know that killing an innocent neighbor is always wrong. Medical science has confirmed what our conscience long ago told us, the child in the womb is our first neighbor. To further compound the matter in this case, we recognize our special obligation to those among us who are disabled.
This legal case is one more bad fruit of the Culture of Death. It also demonstrates that we have lost our national moral compass. This loss is leading our nation, indeed the entire West, down the road to our own self-destruction.
The lawyer representing the parents, David Miller, has given numerous interviews to the Press. He told one reporter "There's been a lot of misinformation out there. These are parents who love this little girl very, very much. Their mission since the beginning was to provide for her and that's what this is all about."
I was sickened by the fact that the lawsuit was even filed. I am a lawyer. I know that such a theory is growing in its use - and lawyers like this one are causing it to grow in acceptability. It represents an ominous trend.
I was further sickened by this attorneys effort to argue in the Press after winning the case that the parents - who admittedly would have killed this child - were somehow acting out of "love" for their little girl. He should be ashamed.
I was reminded of a lawyer and doctor team in the last millennium. Alfred Erich Hoche was the Doctor and Karl Ludwig Lorenz Binding, the lawyer. They laid the groundwork for the rise of National Socialism in Germany. They authored a study entitled "Life Unworthy of Life".
In that evil little book they coined the phrase "useless eaters" in referring to the disabled and those whom the emerging Nazi movement wanted to eliminate. In so doing, they laid the predicate in language for the later construction of gas ovens in which the intentional killing of human persons occurred.
This evolved into what was called a "final solution" - and was protected by civil law in Nazi Germany! We properly look with horror on that chapter in history. We ask ourselves, how could such evil occur? Yet, we fail to recognize what we are currently doing to another class of persons in our own age, children in the womb.
We witnessed another example of evil in American history - when slavery was "legal", even called a "right" - and protected by the United States Supreme Court. Human Persons whose skin pigmentation was darker than those who held the reins of power were treated as property and allowed to be "legally owned" and used by others.
This is the jurisprudence of death unleashed by Roe v Wade and its progeny. An entire class of persons, children in the womb, has been relegated to the status of "chattel", personal property. They can be disposed of by those more powerful than they.
These children, our first neighbors in the first home of the whole human race, their mothers' womb, are being killed by chemicals and surgical strikes - all currently protected by the power of the State. They are subject to use, abuse and destruction by those with more power.
The continued growth in sex selective abortions has finally been exposed in the United States. Universally, this practice has been decried. It is routinely referred to as "Feticide" in the news reports. That is exactly what it is!
This verdict in Oregon is about selectively killing disabled children. It is another form of feticide. It takes the evil a step further by insisting that medical professionals have a duty to tell the parents if the child is disabled so that they can choose to kill their child by abortion. Failure of the doctors to do so will give rise to civil liability in Tort.
All procured abortions are feticide. Killing a disabled child in the womb is not morally distinct from killing a disabled child after birth. This latest award in Oregon signals the growth of the Culture of Death and threatens the disabled in our midst.
Our compelling duty is to replace the current culture of death, nihilism, and instrumentalism with a new culture of life and a civilization of love.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
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