Couple gets $3 million for 'wrongful birth'

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PORTLAND -- A Portland couple has been awarded almost $3 million in what's been called a 'wrongful birth' lawsuit, according to the attorney for the couple.

The Oregonian first reported that Deborah and Ariel Levy sued Legacy Health System after their daughter was born with Down syndrome despite a prenatal test indicating she didn't have the chromosomal abnormality.

On Friday, a jury awarded the couple $2.94 million.

"My clients had two children, this was a surprise pregnancy and they were doing like any responsible couple would do - trying to find out what the status of this pregnancy was," said their attorney, David Miller.

Because of markers indicating a risk of Down syndrome, "she repeatedly called the clinic and said 'Do I need to be concerned about this?' And was repeatedly advised no you don't because the CVS (Down syndrome) test was normal."

After the verdict, Legacy released this statement: "While Legacy Health has great respect for the judicial process, we are disappointed in today's verdict. The legal team from Legacy Health will be reviewing the record and considering available options. Given this, we believe that further comment at this point would not be appropriate."

The jury award will cover the estimated costs of caring for a child with Down syndrome, according to The Oregonian report. Read: Full Story

In 2011, a Florida couple won a $4.5 million award in a wrongful birth lawsuit after their son was born with one leg and no arms.

The Oregon case has drawn national attention because of its implications for medical ethics, and also because of its intersection with the abortion debate. In this and other 'wrongful birth' lawsuits, the couples have said they would have chosen an abortion if they'd known their child would be born with defects.

Several states have moved to ban wrongful birth lawsuits. A measure to ban recently passed the Arizona senate, and nine other states have wrongful birth laws.