Thursday, 30 April 2009

Parents sue NHS over 'wrongful birth' of disabled son

Here is the story, so far, from the Times online.

I have great compassion with parents who are raising a disabled child in a society which has lost sight of the intrinsic value of human life, whether able-bodied or disabled. I understand many of the difficulties even predjudices, that they face. I know very much about the problems parents face in trying to get an appropriate education for their disabled youngster, the Tribunal Appeals that sometimes have to be made; the untruths that professionals will sometimes utter in order to protect the budget of their organisation against the needs of severely disabled children; the Statementing system which is supposed, by law, to guarantee that the educational needs of disabled children will be met, but often fails to do so, because so many Statements are written with a view to what is available locally, rather than what the child needs.

As parents, my husband and I have, and continue to experience, the sleepless nights when our disabled child or children, are sick, and in danger of choking on their own vomit, either at home or in the hospital.
We have had moments when we didn't know whether our child(ren) would see the light of the next day; when the visit of the priest to offer the Sacrament of the Sick, was so needed and so welcome.
Our society's schitzophrenic attitude to the presence of disabled people, with its laws that apparently protect the disabled after birth, but not before, can exert tremendous pressure on such parents as those in the Times online article. And so, I say again ,I have great compassion for them.

But, I have to question their motives in bringing this case of 'unlawful birth'.

Are they saying that their child's life is worthless?
A waste of time?
Could it be that the hope of some serious money in compensation, is a motive in bringing this case?

I don't know all the answers, but I pity anyone who thinks that disabled people are what we need to be compensated for.
Disabled people are willed into life by God our Father, an essential part of His Creation plan, they are here as of right.

The problem with compensation for 'wrongful birth' is that it will force the NHS to be even more pro-active in pre-birth screening and diagnosis, with a resulting pressure on women to abort a disabled child (and so, avoid expensive court cases over 'wrongful birth').

The tragedy is in not recognising that even the most severely disabled people, are people created in the image and likeness of God, first and foremost.
People who may call us to be more generous, more loving, more compassionate than we might otherwise have been.

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