Wrongful birth lawsuit perpetrates racist ideals

By Maria Castellucci Opinions Editor

For most parents, the first glimpse of their newborn baby is one of the most joyous moments of their life.

However, a white Ohio couple was surprised when their artificially inseminated newborn turned out to be racially mixed.

Jennifer Cramblett is suing Midwest Sperm Bank in Downers Grove, Illinois, after giving birth to a biracial child, alleging the clinic gave her sperm vials from a black donor despite specifically requesting a white donor.

Cramblett claims the alleged error by the sperm bank has caused severe emotional stress and depression, and she is seeking $50,000 in damages from the company, according to a lawsuit filed Sept. 29 with Cook County Circuit Court. She and her partner, Amanda Zinkon, claim the mistake has caused stress because raising a racially-mixed baby in Uniontown, Ohio, is difficult, explaining that their community is largely white with racist attitudes toward non-whites. Cramblett went on to explain that she was unfamiliar with black culture, admitting that she never interacted with a black person until she went to college and that her family has racist views. Despite these claims, Cramblett said she loves her 2-year-old daughter.

Although Cramblett insists she is suing because of emotional distress, her decision to sue Midwest Sperm Bank perpetrates the racial ideas from her community and could damage her relationship with her daughter.

I’m not trying to excuse the lab’s negligence but filing the lawsuit seems to justify the racist ideas she says her child will have to endure.

In the testimony, Cramblett admits she still receives criticism from her family because of her homosexuality. However, she said that does not stop her from living happily with her partner. Why can she not simply deal with the adversity her child may face in similar stride? It could help alleviate the slanted view her family and community adheres to. Cramblett has the power to change her family’s racist ideas by defending her child and proving that race does not matter at all. Would the discrimination experienced by blacks in the U.S. have ever improved if they did not stand up and fight for their rights? If the community in Ohio is so judgmental, Cramblett should pack up her things and move.

Considering the oppression she received in her own life, it is shocking that she would not be able to muster up enough self-sacrificing courage to deal with the clearly narrow-minded views of her neighbors and family for the sake of her child. Her inability to do so questions whether she agrees with their views. This could cause severe emotional damage for her child. The baby will one day know that her birth caused severe enough emotional damage to sue the company that did it.

Mixed-raced individuals are already more likely to experience identity issues, according to a 2009 Cedarville University Study. It was not until the 2000 census that individuals could identify as more than one race, according to the study. Considering this, it is even more important that Cramblett is accepting of her child, and filing this lawsuit is counterproductive.

The Chicago Tribune published an opinion piece Oct. 13 defending Cramblett’s decision, stating that considering the racism her baby has already experienced in her two years of life and will continue to experience, it is her right to sue, especially because she specifically requested a white donor to prevent such treatment. This point is grossly disjointed. The child is being written about like she is an apple picked from the wrong tree. When the author goes on further to say it is her right to ask for a child that looks like her because “we live in America,” her argument drips narrow-minded offensiveness. With artificial reproduction booming, parents can now pick their ideal child.

There is something morally wrong about being able to decide what a child looks like. What if a child is born with a severe disability, which can actually cause depression and emotional stress? Cramblett was given the precious gift of a healthy child, which should be enough to be thankful for. Furthermore, thanks to the miracles of science, she was able to pass along some of her genes and conceive her own child—an impossible task years ago for lesbian and gay couples.

This lawsuit is offensive. Some couples struggle for years to conceive a healthy child and Cramblett was blessed with that gift. Her lawsuit perpetuates ignorant racist ideas.