When my daughters were born, my first question about them, and I suspect yours too, was, “Are they healthy? Do they have all their fingers and toes” If they weren’t, if the child was born with Down’s Syndrome, for example, I imagine you cried for your child and for yourself. Most learned to love the child or loved the child from conception. Many or most, I suppose, were grateful for this child in your life and all that you shared with this child and learned from this child.
Science has given us tools to detect Down’s Syndrome and we can choose to abort the fetus. 90% choose abortion. Lawsuits are brought against doctor’s for not detecting the syndrome. Parents, for example, artificially impregnated, have brought suit for failure to test the egg or sperm donor. From an article at FindLaw written by Sherry F. Colb titled Better to Have Never Been Born? Wrongful Life Litigation
The more gut-wrenching form of wrongful life litigation occurs when the parents in question do want a child. They just don’t want this child.
HeroicLife at Truth, Justice, and the American Way
But what can we say about a parent that chooses a life of suffering upon their child?
HeroicLife argues, that now that we can detect birth defects, we pat ourselves on the back for being moral by choosing life. Is it moral to have the baby anyway, condemning the child to suffering?
Most of us believe that suffering is an evil, and that when suffering becomes intense enough, it might be worse than death. The prospect of death, for example, might not induce a prisoner of war to talk, but the threat of torture could. It is accordingly comforting to learn that a loved one’s death was “mercifully quick” rather than lengthy and painful.
We even have lawsuits brought in the name of the child born with a defect saying in effect, “I, the child who should not have been born, hereby sue the doctor whose negligence led to my existence.”
These sentiments express the view that at least under some circumstances, nonexistence might be better for the person who does not exist than life. It is not that the dead person has an identity in which he suffers less than his alter ego, the living and suffering version of him. Rather, it is that the suffering of the existing person is so great as to make life not worth living anymore, from that person’s own perspective.
Obama said that questions about when life begins, “Is above my pay grade!”
Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” Science has given us great gifts. Could we not imagine an aborted child sue by saying in a sense, “I, the child who should have been born, hereby sue the doctor whose science led to my non-existence and prevented me from examining life as this child with these defects.”
After all, we all are born with defects, non of us are perfect. Some choose to believe being born a girl is defect, being born gay is a defect. Who knows maybe being born with a thinking brain is a defect!