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Abstract

The Note discusses wrongful birth and wrongful life actions arising from negligent genetic counseling and explains why they should be recognized statutorily. It details the technological advances in the field of genetics and their implications for the legal duty imposed upon the medical profession. The author traces the judicial developments that led to the gradual recognition of wrongful birth actions and the refusal to recognize wrongful life actions, as well as the recent legislation that has barred both wrongful birth and wrongful life actions. The author proposes a model statute based on the following policy considerations: (1) procreative choice is constitutionally protected within the right of privacy; (2) individuals, and not courts, should determine for their children whether existence with genetic birth defects is preferable to nonexistence; (3) this type of medical malpractice should not go undeterred and the use of due care by genetic counselors should be encouraged; and (4) victims of negligence should be compensated in accordance with established principles of tort law.

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