”Wrongful birth” und ”wrongful life”. Probleme der rechtlichen Bewältigung ärztlicher Pflichtverletzung bei der menschlichen Reproduktion

Ethik in der Medizin 12 (1):30-43 (2000)
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Definition of the problem: The medical progress made in human reproduction and prenatal diagnosis is having an increasing effect on the responsibility of doctors concerning reproduction and birth. A faulty diagnosis or professional error is causing lawyers to be confronted with difficulties in which ethical views are involved. It is becoming clear that there will be difficulties if the courts have to rule on the question whether the doctor is under an obligation to pay maintenance following the birth of an unwanted child or a child with genetic defects. Arguments and conclusion: First, the controversy about parental claims on maintenance as a result of an unwanted child (”wrongful birth”) is presented, and the ethical arguments against physician liability are critically discussed. Subsequently, the claims of a genetically defective child against the doctor (”wrongful life”) are dealt with. It should be stressed that it is unjust for the court to reject physician liability in this case. The intention is to point out that ethical judgements are improper and inadequate in both cases



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