Perhaps you’ve seen the articles about a white lesbian couple who are suing because the sperm bank they used to conceive their child gave them the sperm of Donor #330 instead of Donor #380. Likely would not have been a problem, but Donor #330 turned out to be African-American, and the women are freaking out because they have to raise a mixed-race child.
This reminded me instantly of parents who bring “wrongful life” or “wrongful birth” lawsuits, [.pptx]* alleging that doctors failed to warn them of potential risks of disability that would have caused them to abort their unborn child. The mixed-race case and the undetected-disability case share this in common: they require parents to say they would not have had a child who is now born, is now here, is now A PERSON.
It always makes me think: Don’t these parents realize their unwanted infants will grow up to be teenagers who can use Google? Don’t they realize that even the youngest of children will understand an environment of unwantedness?
The request for damages is usually for the extreme distress of raising a disabled child (wrongful birth) or BEING a disabled person (wrongful life). What it should be for is PREPAYMENT OF THE SHRINKS’ BILLS THE KID WILL INCUR BECAUSE HER PARENTS DECIDED TO TELL THE WORLD THEY DIDN’T WANT HER.
Original caption: “This undated family photo provided by Jennifer Cramblett shows her daughter, Payton.” So not only is she telling the world that her daughter is a mistake, she’s publishing her name and photograph. Do they think that their child alone in the world will never Google her own name? W.T.F.?
This situation is so fucked up that my conservative brother and I — who agree about almost nothing except that his kids are awesome and the rest of our family is a clown car — are in complete agreement. Take it away, Bruce!
Two white people decide to have a baby and, surprise, it comes out black (or half black). They’re lesbians so you’d think maybe they’d have some sensitivity to being a minority (and pay some lip service to that), but fundamentally they’re pissed that they bargained for a white baby and got a half-black one.
But, don’t people get surprises not of their choosing with babies all the time. I think this has been your mantra for a long time – that all life is equally valuable, etc. Interesting that therapists actually recommended they move out of a white neighborhood into a more “diverse” neighborhood.
Not sure, but this story seems to have about a million things wrong with it, none of which have to do with the mistake made by the sperm bank.
Sadly I learned early in my career in civil rights law that being in one minority does not guarantee you give a rat’s ass about any other minority or civil rights in general. In an investigation not long after we started Fox & Robertson, we were interviewing people with disabilities whose personal care assistants were managed by a company who we thought might be committing Medicaid fraud. The primary complaint of one of the first people I spoke with was that, despite her request, the agency would not stop sending Black people to her house. Sigh. This recent post by our friend Corbett describes a similarly depressing lack of rat’s-ass-giving by a group of non-disabled feminists.
Working hypothesis: Humans are selfish, insular, and thoughtless, except the ones who are generous, compassionate, and funny. It’s hard to say.
But back to parents who sue because their child exists. As Bruce says: having a kid is always full of surprises. My parents — dyed-in-the-wool liberals — could not possibly have predicted they’d have a gen-u-ine Republican son. But then, my dyed-in-the-wool Republican/WASP grandparents could not possibly have predicted they’d have a Democratic son who married a Jewish liberal, either. Generations of parents — to the beginning of time — cope with children who aren’t what they expect them to be, yet the law does not recognize a right to compensation for parental disappointment unless the child is disabled or — I guess we’ll soon learn — of a different race.
Meanwhile, I’d like to set up shop as the lawyer representing the grown kids of these hateful lawsuits, bringing suit against their parents for the child abuse of publicly rejecting their very existence.
* Link is to an excellent PowerPoint presentation on the subject by Samantha Crane, Public Policy Director at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.