The dialectics of wrongful life and wrongful birth claims in Israel: A disability critique

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This article examines the dialectics of wrongful life and wrongful birth claims in Israel from 1986 until 2012. In May 2012 Israeli Supreme Court declared that while wrongful birth claims were still permitted, wrongful life claims were no longer accepted in a court of law. The article examines the conditions that allowed for and supported the expansion of wrongful life/birth claims until 2012. The article identifies two parallel dynamics of expansion: A broadening of the scope of negligent conduct and a view of milder forms of disabilities as damage that merits compensation. The article further suggests four explanations for such doctrinal evolution, two of which emanate from doctrinal ambiguities and the other two are rooted in social factors that have shaped the meaning of disability as a tragedy and state of inferiority. While recent developments seem promising, the article concludes with a word of caution. Such changes may reproduce past injustices mainly because the compensation mechanism has remained an individual-torts based one, which may run counter to the broader struggle for social change for disabled people.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStudies in Law Politics and Society
PublisherJAI Press
Number of pages34
ISBN (Print)9781783507856
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameStudies in Law Politics and Society
ISSN (Print)1059-4337


  • Disability
  • Disability legal studies
  • Disability studies
  • Israel
  • Torts
  • Wrongful birth
  • Wrongful life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Law


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