Parents Sue over Daughter Born with Down Syndrome, Say They Would Have Aborted Her

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When Oregon parents Ariel and Deborah Levy had their third child and first daughter, Kalanit, they thought she was the “normal and healthy” baby they say they were promised after prenatal test results showed no irregularities. When they found out through a blood test after their daughter’s birth that she had Down syndrome, “It was devastating,” says the mother. Now, 4 years later, they’re suing the Legacy Health clinic, which the couple says made a mistake in the testing, giving them a false sense of security that their baby would be perfectly fine.

Now, before I get all riled up, some more facts: Many expectant parents choose to undergo prenatal screening – usually a combination of blood tests and ultrasounds that assess the likelihood of the baby being born with certain diseases or disorders, including trisomy 21, commonly known as Down syndrome. The Levys had a test known as CVS (chorionic villus sampling), which examines tissue directly from the fetus and is recommended for mothers over age 35 or who show other risk factors.

The Levy couple says the clinic screwed up and actually tested tissue from the mother, not the baby, and that’s why the results came back normal. They’ve filed a “wrongful birth” lawsuit for $3 million dollars, saying had they known their daughter would be born with disabilities, they would have had an abortion.

Women undergo prenatal testing for many different reasons, but studies suggest that more than 89 percent choose to abort a fetus shown to have Down syndrome, according to this article in the Daily MailThe Levys say they would have done the same – and I fully support their right to make that decision – but to sue someone because your child was even born? Especially your FOUR-YEAR-OLD child, whom you’ve raised, whom you say you love? Who, along with her brothers, will eventually be old enough to understand that her parents would have aborted her if they’d known she was going to be less than “perfect”? Well, “shocked” is a nice way to characterize my reaction.

Here’s the thing: No prenatal testing is 100 percent accurate. When I had my 20-week ultrasound, the doctor made sure to point out that just because everything looks normal and healthy on the scan doesn’t guarantee a normal and healthy baby. Heck, even if you give birth to a normal and healthy baby doesn’t mean he’ll remain normal and healthy for the rest of his life. Simply put, when you have a child, you’re taking a risk. There are no guarantees, I don’t care what your prenatal test results show. In the end, as far as I’m concerned, it’s your job as a parent to love and care for the children you get, and to always want the best for them – not to throw a fit if you don’t get the “best” child from the very start.

Sure, the clinic made a mistake that changed the lives of the Levys in a way they wouldn’t have chosen, but I still can’t get over how they’ve handled the situation as parents of a little girl who deserves their unconditional love and support. The biggest mistake here, I think, is THEIRS.


Read more here, and of course leave your comments and reactions below.

UPDATE: As of last Friday (after this post was written), the Levys won the lawsuit and were awarded $2.9 million.