Jansen expresses concern as to the legal implications of both selective reduction of pregnancy and unsuccessful attempts at termination of pregnancy using mifepristone. This commentary examines the legality of both procedures and concludes that Jansen is over-optimistic in his belief that neither procedure is likely to fall foul of the criminal laws on induced abortion. By contrast his anxieties about civil liability arising from the subsequent live birth of a damaged infant are, it is suggested, unnecessarily pessimistic. Such an action is most unlikely to succeed if brought by the infant herself and any claim on the part of the mother will normally be dependent on proof of negligence. The commentary focusses on the law in England with relevant references to other common law jurisdictions. (+info)
Developments in genetic understanding place upon family physicians diagnostic, warning and referral responsibilities which the law reinforces. Professional standards of care and skill have a legal rather than a purely professional basis. Treatment options such as sterilization, abortion and artificial insemination by donor, compel practitioners' proper awareness of their legal and ethical responsibilities, particularly to respect patients' autonomy. This is better achieved through professional education than through litigation and legislation. (+info)
What should we do with donated embryos that may be genetically affected?
The ethical and legal issues arising from genetic screening in embryo donation are discussed in relation to two recent cases where embryos with uncertain genetic health were offered for donation. (+info)
"Wrongful life" claims.
On 9 May 2006, the High Court of Australia dismissed "wrongful life" claims brought on behalf of two patients. One of the cases involved the alleged negligent failure by a general practitioner to diagnose prenatal rubella and to advise the mother of the risks to the fetus associated with rubella. This article outlines the case and discusses the nature of "wrongful life" and "wrongful birth" claims. (+info)
Is human existence worth its consequent harm?
Benatar argues that it is better never to have been born because of the harms always associated with human existence. Non-existence entails no harm, along with no experience of the absence of any benefits that existence might offer. Therefore, he maintains that procreation is morally irresponsible, along with the use of reproductive technology to have children. Women should seek termination if they become pregnant and it would be better for potential future generations if humans become extinct as soon as humanely possible. These views are challenged by the argument that while decisions not to procreate may be rational on the grounds of the harm that might occur, it may equally rational to gamble under certain circumstances that future children would be better-off experiencing the harms and benefits of life rather than never having the opportunity of experiencing anything. To the degree that Benatar's arguments preclude the potential rationality of any such gamble, their moral relevance to concrete issues concerning human reproduction is weakened. However, he is right to emphasise the importance of foreseen harm when decisions are made to attempt to have children. (+info)
Wrongful life and wrongful birth. Implications for diagnostic sonography.
We trust that this communication will further the understanding of the concepts involved in wrongful life and wrongful birth and will assist the conduct of medical practice in such a way to minimize risks to patients and ultrasound physicians with regard to their liability. When these physicians are involved in wrongful life cases, we believe that the concepts presented will assist them in understanding the legal and societal environment in which they find themselves. We hope also that this communication may assist the defense attorney to more effectively prepare a response to the plaintiff's legal theory. Knowledge should provide understanding, if not relief. (+info)
New prenatal screening procedures raise spectre of more "wrongful-birth" claims.
Last year a Winnipeg couple whose baby was born with profound disabilities initiated a lawsuit against their doctor alleging that they were not adequately informed of the results of a prenatal blood test. The case was later settled out of court. Although the legal basis of the suit was negligence, the damages claimed related to the controversial concepts of "wrongful birth" and "wrongful life". As more and more prenatal tests are developed, physicians should familiarize themselves with the ways informed consent pertains to prenatal testing. (+info)