HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Thursday, December 23, 2004

South Caroline Rejects Wrongful Life Claim

A unanimous South Carolina Supreme Court rejected a lawsuit brought by a woman who claimed that she was denied the option to abort her severely disabled son because her physician failed to tell her about the condition.  The lawsuit was filed by Jennie Willis on behalf of her now 8-year-old son, Thomas, who was born without a large portion of his brain.  Although the court recognized the serious nature of Thomas' disability, it did not accept the "wrongful life" claim stating, "Even a jury collectively imbued with the wisdom of Solomon would be unable to weigh the fact of being born with a defective condition against the fact of not being born at all."

Currently twenty-seven (27) other states either reject or limit the "wrongful life" claim, according to the court.  California, Washington and New Jersey are the only states that allow such claims; and the remaining states haven't taken a position.

A brief story on the opinion is here and the full opinion is available here.

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