On The Cover: Wrongful Birth

New York Magazine’s November 27-December 10, 2017 issue cover / Photograph: Elinor Carucci/New York Magazine

For New York Magazine’s November 27–December 10, 2017, issue cover story, the Cut’s parenting editor Jen Gann writes about her decision to file a “wrongful birth” case, and what it means to continue a pregnancy under false pretenses. Gann writes about her son, Dudley, who was born with cystic fibrosis, although she was tested to see if she was a carrier for the disease during pregnancy. Cystic fibrosis is a terminal illness for which half of all deaths reported in 2016 occurred before the age of 30. In almost all cases, it’s understood that a “wrongful birth” lawsuit means the plaintiff would have aborted the pregnancy if she’d been able to make an informed decision, and Gann’s piece grapples with what feels like the slyest of deals: “While my family’s life is now shaped around a disease I would never willingly have brought into the world, we are a family because of them —unwittingly, they gave me my most precious gift. I hate them for making me a mother whose biggest mistake was becoming one.”

“A French study found that 95 percent of people with a prenatal diagnosis of cystic fibrosis chose to terminate,” says Gann on writing this story. “These decisions were made in private, based on medical information communicated by care providers. Mothers like me were not given the chance to make that decision in private — we were not given the chance to make that decision at all. To me, terminating would have been the merciful choice. I know not everyone feels that way, but I do. I wanted to write about wrongful birth because of them, those who believe I should have no legal recourse against my negligent medical providers. Not all states allow wrongful birth as a legal course of action. My family is lucky New York does.”

On The Cover of New York Magazine: Wrongful Birth