Iowa Supreme Court recognizes wrongful birth tort

Here is link to a article on a June 2, 2017 decision by the Iowa Supreme Court recognizing a tort for wrongful birth. Wrongful birth claims are claims by parents of a disabled child who argue that but for the negligence of a doctor (in, for example, failing to notify the parent that her child would be born with birth defects)  they would have aborted the child. Many states (about half the states in the US) recognize wrongful birth claims. In contrast, far fewer states recognize so-called wrongful life claims, which are brought by the child who claims that but for the wrongful conduct of the defendant the child would have never been born (because her parents would have had an abortion).

Here is a link to an article (“Statutory Responses to ‘Wrongful Birth’ and ‘Wrongful Life” Actions”) by William Duncan discussing these torts. Here is a link to another article (“The Disabling Impact of Wrongful Birth and Wrongful Life Actions”) arguing, from a disability rights perspective, that these torts ought not to be recognized.


Richard Myers

Richard S. Myers, the Vice-President of UFL, is Professor of Law at Ave Maria School of Law, where he teaches Antitrust, Civil Procedure, Conflict of Laws, Constitutional Law, and Religious Freedom. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Kenyon College and earned his law degree at Notre Dame, where he won the law school's highest academic prize. He began his legal career by clerking for Judge John F. Kilkenny of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Professor Myers also worked for Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue in Washington, D.C. He taught at Case Western Reserve University School of Law and the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law before joining the Ave Maria faculty. He is a co-editor of St. Thomas Aquinas and the Natural Law Tradition: Contemporary Perspectives (Catholic University of American Press, 2004) and a co-editor of Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy (Scarecrow Press, 2007). He has also published extensively on constitutional law in law reviews and also testified before Congressional and state legislative hearings on life issues. Married to Mollie Murphy, who is also on the faculty at Ave Maria School of Law, they are the proud parents of six children - Michael, Patrick, Clare, Kathleen, Matthew, and Andrew.