Doctor Must Pay for Child After Error in Mother's Sterilization

Argument for Abortion Is Criticized

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ROME, SEPT. 25, 2002 ( A Venice court ordered a gynecologist to pay for the food and maintenance of a child until he comes of age, because his birth was due to an error in his mother’s sterilization operation.

The mother was happy with two children, and had asked that her fallopian tubes be tied. When she became pregnant, the doctor recommended an abortion, but the mother refused.

After the child was born Dec. 31, 1996, the woman sued the doctor. Last Sunday, Judge Rita Rigoni of the Venice Tribunal ordered the doctor to pay just over 100,000 euro ($98,000).

Dr. Henri Lafont, president of the French Medical Association for the Respect of Life and author of books on bioethics, told ZENIT that the sentence places the child in a «worrying» psychological situation.

«He will know that he was not really wanted,» and that this is why he was indemnified, Lafont said. «This aspect, possibly, was not contemplated by the court, and not even the mother.»

The gynecologist’s lawyer argued that the woman could have had an abortion. His argument was rejected by the president of the Italian College of Physicians, who said that «to take recourse to abortion as an alternative to sterilization is unacceptable.»

The Catholic Church condemns both abortion and direct sterilization.

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