‘Wrongful birth’ suit criticized by pro-lifers

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    ‘Wrongful birth’ suit criticized by pro-lifers

    By Gail Besse
    The Anchor

    FALL RIVER, Mass. (The Anchor) – The lawsuit brought by a mother whose botched abortion resulted in her daughter being born alive unmasks the real cruelty of the abortion culture, Catholic pro-life advocates agree..

    “The heart of the abortion culture is not about the rights of the mother. It’s about making sure the baby is dead,” said Father David Mullen of Bellingham, an executive board member of Massachusetts Citizens for Life. “The idea is sick – that doctors are supposed to kill a child in the womb and be punished if the child isn’t dead.”

    The case made national news after the Boston Globe first reported it March 7. Although the incredible idea of so-called “wrongful birth” or “wrongful life” lawsuits has grown since the legalization of abortion, previous cases apparently centered on medical problems the babies had.

    Although pro-lifers and spokesmen for the disabled repudiated such “quality of life” thinking, abortion advocates capitalized on this strategic legal wedge.

    However, this proposed suit makes no mention of medical problems; rather it states the mother sought an abortion for financial reasons, according to the article.

    On March 1, Jennifer Raper, 45, of Charlestown, Mass.,filed a complaint in Suffolk Superior Court against Planned Parenthood and two doctors. She had given birth on Dec. 7, 2004 after a failed abortion, and is seeking damages and the cost of raising her 2-year-old daughter.

    Dr. Allison Bryant, who worked for Planned Parenthood, performed the abortion in April 2004, but it “was not done properly, causing the plaintiff to remain pregnant,” according to the medical malpractice complaint.

    Raper then went to see Dr. Benjamin Eleonu at Boston Medical Center in July 2004, and he failed to detect the pregnancy even though she was 20 weeks pregnant at the time, the Globe reported. It was only when Raper went to the New England Medical Center emergency room for treatment of pelvic pain in late September that she found out she was pregnant, the suit said.

    Neither Planned Parenthood nor the doctors being sued for negligence are commenting on the complaint, which must be reviewed by a panel before the court determines if it will go to trial. That process could take about eight months, Raper’s attorney Barry Reed Jr. of Boston said March 27. He and his client are also not commenting.

    Father Mullen observed, “The parents aren’t thinking about scarring the psyche of this girl for the rest of her life, when she realizes that every time they look at her they see a botched abortion. What they should be thinking is: Thank God the mistake we made didn’t result in the death of our child. Obviously, somebody convinced this mother she might make some money here..”

    And Planned Parenthood’s pockets do go deep, with much of its money coming from taxpayers. As the nation’s leading abortion chain, it pulled in federal funding of $272 million in 2005, twice what it made from it s 255,000 abortions that year, according to the Family Research Council.

    Genevieve Kineke of East Greenwich, R.I., author of “The Authentic Catholic Woman,” said in an interview, “Sadly, this is the logical consequence of reducing the human person to a commodity. It follows that if life is not sacred (and even its value is driven by supply and demand) then a child is seen either as a tax break or a tuition bill, as an accessory or even a source of ‘spare parts.’

    “We are so dead to the hidden treasures, the joys and even rich sorrows that relationships can provide that we can’t see past the price tag – and even if this woman wins her lawsuit, she will be the poorer for it.”

    Judie Brown, president of American Life League, commented about Raper, “Lord, how this woman must need our prayers.” In an online article, Brown wrote that we now suffer from a mentality whereby people “see children as problems, pregnancy as an illness almost worse than cancer, and selfless love as a joke.”

    [color=red:3lnfbhcb]Since the legalization of abortion in 1973, almost 48 million American children have been killed. [/color:3lnfbhcb]
    “That the phrase ‘wrongful birth’ exists and a mother would ever conceive of making a legal case out of wishing her kid was never born does always seem to me a clear sign the end is nigh and Judgment Day won’t be merciful to our national soul,” National Review Online Editor Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote about Raper’s suit.

    After the case became public, the online pro-life news source LifeSite News summarized some previous “wrongful life” decisions. In 2003, a Canadian doctor was ordered to pay $325,000 to parents whose child he failed to diagnose with Down syndrome before birth, and therefore in time to have her aborted.

    In 2006, Ohio banned “wrongful life” lawsuits that claimed parents could have aborted their baby had a doctor diagnosed a disability in the unborn child. Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life applauded lawmakers in a release saying, “The disabled are like everyone else. They’re better off loved, not better off dead.”

    Also last year, an Italian court ruled such suits were invalid in Italy, saying there could be no such thing as a “right not to be born.”

    Most recently, the Vatican spokesman to the United Nations at Geneva emphasized the dignity of human life. In a March 23 address to the Human Rights Council, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi said, “The first right of children is that of being born.”

    Gail Besse (gailbesse@comcast.net) is a Massachusetts freelance writer.

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