My very good friend Caley brought a story from the US to my attention today. It concerns Deborah and Ariel Levy, a couple who, having been told that their child did not have Down syndrome, carried on with the pregnancy only to discover that their daughter did indeed have Downs. A doctor at the Legacy Center for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Portland, Oregon, had ruled it out. Here’s what Oregon Online has to say about it.
But within days of the birth of their daughter, the Southwest Portland couple learned the baby did have Down syndrome. Had they known, they say, they would have terminated the pregnancy. Now they’re suing in Multnomah County Circuit Court, seeking more than $14 million to cover the costs of raising her and providing education, medical care, and speech and physical therapy for their daughter, who turned 2 this month. The suit also seeks money to cover her life-long living expenses.
Now forgive me if I come off as trite. I don’t mean to. I have some small experience of the gunk you get when Oops!yourbabyhasDownsyndrome! goes into your ears and zings around your suddenly utterly empty mind, bouncing off the smooth walls of the place where you used to be able to do things like thinking. Thoughts did assemble at some point, but I remember distinctly… no, lemme be sure… Yes, I categorically remember that at no point did I think WOW! THIS HAS TO BE WORTH FOURTEEN MILLION!
The Levys declined to be interviewed. Their attorney, David K. Miller, said the toddler is as dear to them as their two older children but they fear being perceived as “heartless.”
Oh you think?? ‘Babba, you’re just as dear to us as our other two kids, but somehow we reckon it’d have been worth fourteen million dollars NOT to have had you. We sure hope you’re okay with all that. Later on, like.’
“They feel very strongly that what happened to them was wrong,” Miller said. “They were given incorrect information, and their lives have changed because of it.”
No doubt there are thousands of tears and a whole lot of emotional heartache gone into the legal decision for the Levys. I do not care. You made a bad call, guys. A shameful call. You could bring a lot of honour on yourselves by admitting that and getting the hell on with the randomness of life as it’s been laid down for you, for me and for every other person on the planet. What court in man’s remit has the moral right to give you $14 million compensation for a beautiful baby’s life?