In ancient civilizations, it was common to leave children who were born damaged at the mercy of nature so they could die. Now, in 21st century, there are those who have found a more profitable way to use what they view as a worthless life; sue the doctor for not letting them know ahead of the birth so they could have an abortion performed.
Ana Mejia and Rodolfo Santana of Florida will receive $4.5 million after winning a wrongful birth lawsuit in which they claimed their three-year-old son Bryan, who was born without arms and only one leg, should have been aborted. They asserted that the obstetrician and the ultrasound technician who were handling the pregnancy should have informed them of Bryan’s damage.
The couple had refused an amniocentesis because of the 1 in 500 chance that the procedure could cause a miscarriage. The couple had asked for $9 million in damages. The Palm Beach County Circuit Court jury said the obstetrician, Dr. Marie Morel, was 85% responsible and the ultrasound technician was 15% responsible.
The couple’s attorney, Robert Bergin, said in his closing argument:
“They went from the heights of joyous expectations to the depths of despair. Ana and Rodolfo Santana know their mental anguish and their emotions are not important. The only thing that will help make up for their mental anguish is to know Bryan’s life plan is fully funded.”
Mejia’s response after the verdict was “I have no words.”
Paul Cooper of Pajamas Media said Mejia:
“ … will not win any mother-of-the year awards. I hope when little Bryan grows up he never Googles himself or his parents. I can’t imagine the horror when he reads that his parents wish they would have killed him. I wonder how quickly he will grasp that his parents think his life, since he has disabilities, isn’t worth living. I wonder if that jury considered how the disabled community would feel if they knew that a jury awarded these parents millions because they missed the opportunity to abort their disabled son.”
Marc Sherman, Program Director for AccessABILITY Center for Independent Living, Inc., who has been diagnosed with C5/C6 quadriplegia himself, was upset, too:
“A disability is just a natural part of life. A person with a disability has just as much worth and just as much as importance as anybody else. It doesn’t matter what kind of disability, they have just as much worth and importance. They should get to choose how they want to live.”
And Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern, was deeply disturbed, saying:
“This is a truly shocking decision from the court. It perpetuates the myth that life is not worth living if you have a disability and indicates a chillingly utilitarian view of personhood. Children are not commodities and we cannot dispose of them when they fail to meet our expectations, either in appearance or ability. This view safeguards life and prevents the callous and barbaric treatment of those born, or about to be born, with disabilities.”