Over the years, we’ve asked the question, “What would Montana look like without groups like the Montana Family Foundation? What would we look like from a political perspective or a policy perspective?”
In a recent Lee newspaper article, one of our opponents described us as having “too much political power and exerting too much influence in the legislature,” to which we respond, “That’s our job. It’s why we exist, to affect public policy in a positive way from a Judeo-Christian perspective.”
This week we celebrated a victory that reminds us why we’re here and why we have to be in this for the long haul. Back in 2011, a Livingston couple filed Montana’s first lawsuit claiming a brand-new concept that can best be described as “wrongful birth,” the idea that someone is liable for the birth of a child that should never have been born. In this case, the couple’s child was born with cystic fibrosis. The couple claimed that genetic testing should have shown that the child would be born with the disease, and had they known, then the mother would have sought an abortion.
This case is incredibly sad on so many levels, but the one that concerned us most was the threat that the concept of wrongful birth could gain traction. Our team went to work, and in 2013, drafted legislation that prohibited lawsuits for wrongful birth or wrongful life. On April 26th, 2013, House Bill 310 became law, and Montana joined at least 12 other states that have the same law. Meanwhile, similar cases were introduced in Washington state and Oregon. Last year, a Bozeman jury rejected the Livingston couple’s claim, and last week the Montana Supreme Court rejected their appeal.
I say “their” appeal, but in another sad turn of events, the father was dismissed from the lawsuit early on for lack of standing. Even though we completely disagree with the premise of the case, it seems bizarre that a judge would say that a father in an intact marriage has no standing when it comes to a lawsuit involving his child. As we said, this case is sad on so many levels. The Supreme Court decision brings to a close a case that began six years ago, and we can truly say that Montana dodged a bullet. The child in this case in now in school and in gymnastics, and the life expectancy for people suffering from cystic fibrosis is now about 40 years.
The essence of this case is the fact that every single life is valuable; every single life has worth; and who are we to say different? When society values all life, we lift each other up and spur each other on to achieve whatever we’re able to, given our individual intellect, talents and abilities.
But lest we forget, it doesn’t end there. The Bible says that we’re created in the image of God, and simply by existing, we have value. When we, as a society, begin pointing out individuals who should never have been born, we begin to look more like Nazi Germany than America. This is a journey that doesn’t end well, and it’s a journey that we should never begin.