Who Is to Blame for an Unwanted Pregnancy?

Three women in New Zealand are suing the doctors who tied their tubes for child support after they conceived children, one of whom had severe health problems. All three women blame the doctors for negligence in their getting pregnant. And I say good for them.

Now we all know that nothing is 100 percent and, although I've never had a tubal ligation, I am willing to bet that the language in the surgery doesn't guarantee a woman that she will never again become pregnant. That said, people don't get vasectomies and tubal ligations with the plan that they will use backup forms of birth control. They do so to be done with birth control.

In other words, that is why you get a permanent procedure. So yes, the doctor shares some blame.


Parenting isn't easy. And when a person makes a decision to be done with child-rearing, they usually mean it. And they trust their doctors to listen to them and do right by them. When two people make a baby, we usually attribute the "blame" in percentages, right? Fifty percent is the dad and 50 percent is the mom.

But in a case like this, it seems another percent is needed. One for the doctor. How about 20 percent? That seems reasonable to me.

Because kids are expensive. There are new diapers and bottles and wipes and breast pumps (or formula). There are shoes and sports fees and new clothing and tuition. There are babysitters and car seats and toys and books. The list goes on and on. And then, of course, there is college tuition.

One would never dream of letting a man who had a one-night stand off the hook for the baby that act created even though he likely had no intention of making one. And he would never sue the condom company (though maybe he should), but a tubal ligation is a different commitment. If a woman had an abortion and was still pregnant, we would say that was the doctor's fault.

So how is this different?

I say it isn't! These doctors are partially responsible for the babies that happened on their watch. Maybe not 100 percent responsible. But they are partially and I hope these women win their cases!

Do you think the doctors are partly to blame?


Image via o5com/Flickr

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