Couple Wins Suit, Doc Didn’t Suggest Aborting Baby With Spina Bifida

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 3, 2013   |   4:26PM   |   Auckland, New Zealand

A couple in New Zealand have won their case at a federal appeals court because they would have aborted their little girl had they known she had spina bifida. The parents of a child with the condition could win a monetary settlement following the ruling saying they were “denied” a chance to abort their daughter.

During ultrasounds scans as the pregnancy progressed, doctors missed signs of the birth “defect” and the couple said that, had the spina bifida been detected, they would have killed their daughter in an abortion. Instead, the little girl was born in 2007 and the couple has been in court even since.

The Court of Appeal ruling claims the couple “suffered a personal injury because of the misdiagnosis” and the case now returns to a district court. A New Zealand news web site has more on the decision:

The parents had appealed against a High Court ruling that sided with an ACC decision not to provide cover.

Doctors initially read the the pregnancy scan as normal, but an independent specialist reviewing the case said the signs of spina bifida were there.

The couple argued that they were denied the chance to abort their daughter because doctors failed to disclose a birth defect in which the backbone and spinal canal were not connected.



Their daughter needed ongoing care and operations because of spina bifida (like the child pictured below right).  Compensation is being sought to cover the costs of caring for their daughter.

The mother spoke out about their court battle in 2009. She said she was not ashamed of saying she would have aborted her daughter.

“In no way are we saying we don’t want her now, ” she said.

This follows an American case in 2012 whereby the parents of another little girl won a lawsuit because they would have killed their daughter in an abortion had they known she had Down Syndrome.

“Wrongful birth lawsuits like these are just plain wrong. It would be one thing if the doctors caused an injury to the child, but to be awarded money because they did not afford you the information that would have lead to to kill your child is simply beyond comprehension. No court should ever be able to rule that a citizen was wrongfully born,” says LifeNews blogger Rebecca Taylor.

Taylor adds: “A handful of states have laws against these kinds of lawsuits for this very reason. And without protection from legal action, doctors and other medical professionals are coerced into a prenatal seek-and-destroy mission. In states like Oregon where wrongful birth lawsuits are allowed, if medical professionals are not successful in finding everything that could possibly be “wrong” with a child, they may be sued. That is not health care. That is eugenics.”