Historically, an unborn child was deemed to have no inherent rights in the field of torts, although such rights were granted in areas such as property or criminal law when it proved beneficial to the child. Case law relating to tort liability for the benefit of infants, however, has expanded rapidly in recent years. This Note summarizes the law of torts that harm infants, with special focus on an area just beginning to emerge—that of liability for torts committed prior to an infant's conception. It examines two recent cases in the area of preconceptional torts: Renslow v. Mennonite Hospital, which involved prenatal injuries incurred from a negligent preconceptional act, and Park v. Chessin, which concerned a suit in wrongful life arising out of a negligent preconceptional act. The scope of this Note is limited to an analysis of the cause of action accruing in favor of the infant, through an application of the elements of negligence.
Dawn R. Duven,
Torts Prior to Conception: A New Theory of Liability: Renslow v. Mennonite Hospital, 40 Ill. App. 3d 234, 351 N.E.2d 870 (1976); Park v. Chessin, 88 Misc. 2d 222, 387 N.Y.S.2d 204 (Sup. Ct. 1976),
56 Neb. L. Rev. 706
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