Skip to content

Carmel Shachar, Assigning and Empowering Moral Decision Making: Acuna v. Turkish and Wrongful Birth and Wrongful Life Jurisprudence in New Jersey, 36 J. L. Med. & Ethics 193 (2008).

Abstract: The New Jersey Supreme Court has continually avoided making moral judgments about the value of life and emphasized that such decision making should be the province of the potential parents. Recently, in Acuna v. Turkish, the court elaborated on the limitations of the decision-making right of the potential parents, and its decision demonstrated that New Jersey courts were only willing to require physicians to disclose all relevant medical information, and not moral statements that had not been agreed upon by the state's medical community, people, or legislature. Acuna might be read as a departure from the trend displayed by New Jersey courts in “wrongful birth” and “wrongful life” actions toward empowering potential parents to decide if they want to bring the pregnancy to term. However, the decision actually fits squarely within this trend in that the reluctance to expand the information to which potential parents are entitled from their physicians can be directly tied to the reluctance of the New Jersey Supreme Court to weigh in on the value of life in wrongful birth and wrongful life suits.