A petition was filed Tuesday, October 13, 2015, for the Supreme Court to hear a case of a military child who suffered a brain injury during delivery. The issue concerns the interpretation of the Feres Doctrine by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which denied the case based on the active duty status of the child’s mother Air Force Captain Heather Ortiz.
Laurie Higginbotham is arguing that if this were a military man, then the child would have the rights to pursue a medical malpractice claim against the government, but because it is a women, the child does not have the same rights. The Feres Doctrine was enacted at time when women were not a large part of the military, and if a woman became pregnant she was dismissed. The law needs to be changed to represent the more modern times of the military, and to ensure that it protects all of the people equally who are willing to serve their country. “This case is not only important to the Ortiz family but all military families particularly to women in the U.S. military because it shine the light on hidden gender discrimination,” Higginbotham said during her press conference in Washington D.C.
In 1950, the Supreme Court decided that and active duty soldier could not bring suit against the federal government. Since then, our country and military have changed and it is time for the laws to catch up. As of now, it seems that depending in which circuit an active duty mother gives birth, should something go wrong, she will not be able to take any recourse. If the circuit courts are split in these decisions, then perhaps it is time for the Supreme Court, being the highest court in the land, to take a stand and give equal rights to the women who fight for their country.