Health

Woman Sues Healthcare Providers For Denying Her Right To Abort Child

| by Michael Doherty
Wristbands promoting awareness of cystic fibrosis.Wristbands promoting awareness of cystic fibrosis.

Kerrie Evans from Gardiner, Montana has sued her health care for providers for not diagnosing her unborn daughter's cystic fibrosis, which she says prevented her from making the choice to have an abortion.

Evans seeks almost $14.5 million from Park Clinic, Billings Clinic’s Bozeman OB/GYN, nurse practitioner Peggy Scanson and Dr. William Peters for what is being called a "wrongful birth," Associated Press reports. The damages include $10 million to cover her daughter's medical care. Evans' daughter has a severe form of the disease, and one of her medications costs up to $300,000 a year.

Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects the lungs and digestive system and can be life-threatening. Patients with CF have mucus that is thick and sticky, and can block airways, leading to repeated lung infections. However, with proper treatment, many CF patients now live to adulthood, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Evans says she told Scanson that she and her husband were concerned about their unborn child having CF, and that if Evans tested positive as a carrier of the disease, they planned to have an abortion. Park Clinic has said that Evans only expressed concern about Down syndrome and did not ask to have a CF test. The clinic has also said that Montana does not recognize a "wrongful birth" law that would allow Evans to seek damages.

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Another recent "wrongful birth" case has been raised by the parents of two young boys with muscular dystrophy in Oregon, where the parents said that if their older son's muscular dystrophy had been diagnosed earlier, they would not have had another child. The Oregon Court of Appeals has said that the parents can proceed with their $11 million lawsuit.

Attorney Lawrence Nelson said that Evans would need to prove that she would have done something different if she had been provided the "standard of care" information about her options.

District Judge Mike Salvagni said that Evans' case is comparable to delayed diagnosis and loss of treatment time. However, he said that the use of the term "wrongful birth" was inflammatory and misleading.

Source: AP via Great Falls Tribune, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute / Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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