Daily Dispatches

Couple granted $2.9M in 'wrongful birth' suit


Last week an Oregon jury granted Ariel and Deborah Levy $2.9 million in a "wrongful birth" suit the couple filed against Legacy Health-the "damage" being the birth and very existence of their 4-year-old daughter Kalanit, who has Down syndrome.

According to a report in The Oregonian, the Levys claimed in their lawsuit they would have aborted their baby had they known about her chromosomal abnormality, but that Legacy's Center for Maternal-Fetal Medicine misread a prenatal test and assured them their baby was healthy.

The Levys first filed suit in 2009, seeking more than $14 million in damages.

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In a 2009 interview with The Oregonian, Arthur Caplan, director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania, said that such lawsuits were uncommon in the United States because they force parents to admit they "feel burdened to have this child."

He added that a lawsuit like this makes judges and juries uncomfortable, forcing them to rule sometimes "it's better not to exist and give damages for having to exist."

Melinda Delahoyde, president of Care Net, a network of more than 1,100 pregnancy centers in North America, reacted to the court's verdict, saying, "What is truly 'wrongful' is that nearly 90 percent of all babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are quietly aborted before they are born."

Delahoyde's 28-year-old son Will was born with Down syndrome and now holds two jobs, swims in the Special Olympics, serves at church, and has spoken at a Care Net national conference in front of 1,500 people.

"As the proud mother of a son who shares the diagnosis of the child who became the subject of this trial, I pray that these parents will come to know their daughter, not as a medical mistake but as the perfect addition to their family that she is," Delahoyde said.

With additional reporting by Grace Howard.

Whitney Williams
Whitney Williams

Whitney happily serves WORLD as web editorial assistant. When she's not working from her home office in Texas, she's probably fishing or hunting with her husband.


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