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LIFE DIGEST: Mother sues Planned Parenthood over failed abortion; …

WASHINGTON (BP)–Jennifer Raper did not want a baby, and she underwent an abortion to make sure she would not give birth to one. She has a 2-year-old daughter now, and she wants Planned Parenthood to pay for the child-rearing expenses of the little girl the abortion clinic failed to kill.

Raper, 45, of suburban Boston, Mass., filed a lawsuit recently seeking damages from the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts, the physician who performed the unsuccessful abortion at the clinic and another doctor who failed to recognize she was still pregnant three months later, according to The Boston Globe.

Raper’s suit does not claim her daughter has any health problems.

In her medical malpractice suit, Raper said she underwent what she thought was a successful abortion at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Boston in April 2004, according to The Globe. She chose to have an abortion for financial reasons, the newspaper reported.

In July, she had a pelvic exam, but the doctor at Boston Medical Center failed to recognize she was 20 weeks pregnant. Only when she went to a hospital emergency room for pelvic pain in late September was she told she was pregnant, according to Raper’s suit, The Globe reported. Her daughter was born Dec. 7, 2004.

Raper’s suit alleges Planned Parenthood and its doctor were negligent for not aborting her child and the other physician was negligent for failing to notice she was pregnant.

Raper’s so-called “wrongful birth” suit will have to undergo review by a panel consisting of a judge, lawyer and doctor to decide if it can go to trial, according to the Globe.

“That the phrase ‘wrongful birth’ exists and a mother would ever conceive of making a legal case out of wishing her kid was never born does always seem to me a clear sign the end is nigh and Judgment Day won’t be merciful to our national soul,” National Review Online Editor Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote about Raper’s suit on a weblog.

RIGHT-TO-DIE WIN IN ITALY -– Prosecutors in Italy have refused to charge with a crime a doctor who admitted he turned off the life support of a muscular dystrophy patient.

The decision was seen as a significant victory for advocates of euthanasia and assisted suicide in a Roman Catholic country, according to Reuters News Service. Prosecutors’ refusal to investigate further after a two-month review of the case may be perceived as establishing a precedent in similar Italian cases, Reuters reported.

Prosecutors declined to describe the act by Mario Riccio as euthanasia, which is banned in Italy and can result in as much as a 15-year prison sentence, according to Reuters.

Riccio cut off the life support of Piergiogio Welby, 60, who subsequently died Dec. 20. Welby had sought euthanasia in a high-profile case but was denied the right by a court, according to the British Broadcasting Co. News. A judge had ruled Welby had the right to have the life support machine turned off but doctors would be legally required to revive him, the BBC reported.

The Roman Catholic Church denied a religious funeral for Welby. The Associated Press reported the Rome Diocese said it declined the family’s request for a religious funeral because of Welby’s “repeated and publicly affirmed” effort to take his own life, an act the church opposes.

The Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland are countries that permit euthanasia.

BAN TO BARBOUR –- A “trigger” bill that potentially could prohibit the vast majority of abortions in Mississippi has gained final approval in that state’s legislature.

Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, is “inclined to sign it” but plans to review the legislation first, a spokesman said, according to AP.

The Senate approved March 8 a version of the abortion ban passed by the House of Representatives. The House passed the measure Feb. 22 in a 97-16 vote.

The measure’s provisions are: (1) It would ban most abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court reverses its 1973 Roe v. Wade opinion, which struck down all state laws prohibiting abortion; there would be exceptions if the mother’s life is endangered or in case of rape. (2) It would require a doctor to offer a pregnant woman an ultrasound of her unborn child before she has an abortion. (3) It would mandate underage women seeking abortions without parental consent gain a judge’s permission.

The second and third proposals will go into effect July 1 if Barbour signs the legislation.

PORTUGAL LAWMAKERS OK ABORTION –- Portugal’s Parliament has voted to legalize abortion in the traditionally Roman Catholic country.

The measure approved by Portuguese lawmakers March 8 permits abortion through the first 10 weeks of pregnancy, according to the BBC News. If signed into law by President Cavaco Silva, the proposal would overturn a law that allows abortion only in cases of rape or a “malformed” fetus, or to protect the mother’s life or health. The latter condition is narrowly interpreted, so the law essentially is considered an abortion ban. It requires imprisonment for women who break it and is one of the most conservative in the European Union.

If the bill becomes law, only Ireland, Malta and Poland will remain as European countries that ban abortion.

Parliament’s action came less than a month after a ballot initiative that would have rescinded the ban failed. The initiative received 59 percent of the vote Feb. 11, but it was nullified because less than 50 percent of Portuguese voters participated.