Wrongful Pregnancy

Wrongful Pregnancy

A claim by parents for damages arising from the negligent performance of a sterilization procedure or Abortion, and the subsequent birth of a child.

In wrongful pregnancy cases (also known as wrongful conception), parents file a Negligence action against the medical provider for failing to perform a sterilization or abortion correctly, which results in the birth of a healthy but unwanted child. Wrongful pregnancy cases are different from wrongful birth cases. In Wrongful Birth actions, the provider is charged with negligence in failing to diagnose a birth defect, which would have allowed the mother to have an abortion instead of giving birth to a child with birth defects.

Parents in wrongful pregnancy actions may be able to sue for damages on the basis of the cost of the unsuccessful procedure and any pain or suffering associated with the sterilization or abortion. The parents may also recover damages for the medical expenses, pain, and suffering attributable to the pregnancy, the mother's lost wages due to the pregnancy, the husband's loss of consortium during the pregnancy, and the economic and emotional costs of rearing the child to maturity. Of these, the claims for the costs of rearing the child have presented the most difficulty for the courts.

Some courts have taken the position that the costs of raising a child are not recoverable damages. Another objection that has been raised is that allowing damages for the cost of rearing a healthy child requires the parents to deny the worth of the child, which may cause considerable emotional harm to the child when he eventually learns of the lawsuit. However, the plaintiffs may still be able to recover damages for the costs of the pregnancy and the birth if they can prove negligence.

Other courts have allowed recovery for the expenses of rearing the child, but insist that they be offset by the benefits of having a normal, healthy child.

Cross-references

Tort Law; Wrongful Life.

References in periodicals archive ?
Developments leading to the recognition of wrongful pregnancy as a cause of (legal) action in South Africa (SA), are briefly outlined.
Strictly speaking, tort issues in this case can be divided into two categories: wrongful pregnancy (sometimes confusingly referred to as wrongful birth) alleged by the mother, and wrongful life by the child.
They analyze the various stages of work they will do to reach resolutions, beginning with the factual context of a potential case and ending with oral argument, with examples from a hypothetical wrongful pregnancy action from parents against a doctor who negligently performed the father's vasectomy.
Birth-related torts--which include the torts of wrongful birth, wrongful life, wrongful pregnancy, and wrongful conception--capture a wide variety of negligent behavior by doctors that results, in one way or another, in the birth of a child.
As will be demonstrated in more detail in the following two sections of this paper, where courts have awarded parents damages in cases dealing with wrongful pregnancy, they have not held that the child is a harm, but rather that his or her birth has led to financial hardship.
II THE CONTRAST BETWEEN WRONGFUL PREGNANCY, WRONGFUL LIFE,
Betancourt filed a wrongful pregnancy lawsuit, also called a wrongful conception lawsuit, against Qualitest.
wrongful birth, wrongful life, and wrongful pregnancy.
Even if the fetus were a person", she writes, "a woman is justified in killing it because of what it does to her when it imposes wrongful pregnancy.
Targeted to both attorneys and forensic economic experts, the book covers such topics as: predicting educational attainment; parental influence on a child's future earnings; damages in wrongful pregnancy tort actions; damages in wrongful birth litigation; the parental investment approach; saving rate estimates for single persons by income, race and sex; and, applying cost share child support guidelines.
Claims for wrongful birth, wrongful conception or wrongful pregnancy, and wrongful life have become popular as a way of dealing with these tragic situations.
Norton analyzes the efficacy of wrongful pregnancy case law for understanding the legal issues in preserving parental interest in genetic affinity.