Wrongful Life, Procreative Responsibility, and the Significance of Harm
5 Legal Theory 117-148 (1999)
33 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2015
Date Written: 1999
Wrongful life suits may be justified even when children suffering significant forms of harm still enjoy an overall worthwhile life. Standard, comparative theories of harm are challenged. An alternative theory of harm is suggested. A distinction is advocated between the nonconsensual conferral of a lesser harm to avert a greater harm and the nonconsensual conferral of a lesser harm to bestow a greater benefit. The latter is morally problematic and may ground claims for compensation. Nonetheless, it is a reasonable characterization of much procreative activity. Related controversies concerning parental responsibility are discussed, including adoption, surrogacy, genetic "donation," and reproductive technology.
Keywords: wrongful life suits, theories of harm
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