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ICC supports bill to prevent ‘wrongful birth’ claims

By March 12, 2018No Comments

This week the Iowa Senate Judiciary Committee may consider HF 2405, a bill that will prevent a cause of action that allows a parent to bring a lawsuit claiming a child should have been aborted because of a disability. The “wrongful birth” claim did not exist in Iowa before it was created by the Iowa Supreme Court last summer. Contrary to the opposition’s rhetoric, the bill explicitly does not protect doctors who are grossly negligent in providing prenatal care.

The Iowa Catholic Conference encourages the legislature to take this opportunity to act. We do not believe public policy should promote private decisions as morally controversial as abortion or direct the doctor-patient relationship in a way creates a bias in favor of it. It should not force parents to claim a missed opportunity to end the life of their child to recover damages when they and their child are victims of fraud or negligence, or use abortion as a means to limit a doctor’s potential liability. We are also concerned this cause of action could evolve into the unintended consequence of a future where parents feel forced to defend or justify the life of their disabled, unborn child.

There is no such thing as a wrongful life or a wrongful birth. The Iowa Catholic Conference encourages the Iowa legislature to create policy that is life-affirming and uses advancements in science and technology to alleviate suffering and assist the disabled and imperfect, not end their lives.