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wrongful life and wrongful birth

Wrongful life refers to a claim or cause of action in which a severely disabled child (through the child’s legal guardian) sues the child’s mother’s doctor or hospital for failing to provide the child’s parents with information about the child’s disability during the pregnancy, or about a genetic disposition for the birth defect with which the child was born, causing the child a lifetime of suffering and medical expenses.

In such cases the child argues the parents would have had an abortion or chosen not to get pregnant if they had known of the birth defect or the genetic disposition for it. Most states do not recognize a wrongful life claim, but California, Maine, New Jersey, and Washington do.

Wrongful birth is a similar claim or cause of action that may be brought by the disabled child’s parents in states that recognize such a claim—and about half of the states do. Wrongful birth is a type of medical malpractice claim.

In Texas, the concepts of 'wrongful life' and 'wrongful birth' are not recognized as valid legal claims. Texas courts have generally held that such claims do not constitute a cause of action under Texas law. This means that a child, through a legal guardian, cannot sue a doctor or hospital for 'wrongful life,' arguing that the child would not have been born with disabilities if the parents had been properly informed of the risks or genetic conditions during pregnancy. Similarly, parents in Texas cannot bring a 'wrongful birth' claim against medical professionals for failing to inform them of the potential for a birth defect or genetic disorder that could have led to a decision to avoid or terminate a pregnancy. These types of claims are not supported by Texas statutes or case law, and as such, they are not actionable in the state's legal system.

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