A woman in Ireland who would have aborted her baby if she had known about the child’s disability was awarded €1.8 million (about $2.1 million) in a “wrongful birth” settlement last week.
The woman carries a rare genetic condition that she knows can be passed onto her children, the Irish Independent reports.
While pregnant, she said she was told that a test for the condition came back normal. However, when her baby was born, the infant had the genetic disorder – a debilitating condition that requires around-the-clock care. She claimed she was misinformed about the test results, and later sued two Dublin hospitals over her child’s “wrongful birth.”
In the lawsuit, the mother said she would have traveled to England for an abortion if she had known her child had the disability. She claimed she was “deprived of the ability to have an informed consent and to make an informed choice in respect of the continuance of her pregnancy,” according to the report.
The names of the mother, child and the genetic disorder are not mentioned in the report. However, those she sued – the Rotunda Hospital and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, both in Dublin – are.
Here’s more from the report:
Oonagh McCrann SC, for the mother, told the court that after the normal result came back on the test, the parents proceeded happily and joyfully with the pregnancy. They suffered enormous shock and grief when the baby was born and found to have the rare genetic condition with very significant and profound disability requiring 24-hour care.
Mr Justice Kevin Cross has ordered no detail can be published that would identify the mother and child. The mother had sued the Rotunda Hospital, Dublin, and Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Dublin. Full liability in the case was conceded by letter on June 13 last.
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The letter stated that “in the particular circumstances of this case and in light of the outcome of the recent referendum repealing the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution”, liability was conceded and the public policy defence was withdrawn.
Mr Justice Cross, noting liability had been conceded, said he accepted that but he would have thought the result of the referendum had nothing to do with it.
Though dates are not mentioned, the case occurred prior to May 25 when Ireland voted to repeal its Eighth Amendment, which protects unborn babies’ rights.
A number of British and American families also have won massive settlements after arguing that they would have aborted their babies if they had known about their disabilities before birth.
In late 2017, a British judge awarded Omodele Meadows £9 million (about $12 million) for the “wrongful birth” of her son, Adejuwon, who has autism and a severe form of hemophilia.
In 2013, a Washington state couple also won $50 million in a lawsuit after they argued they were denied information that could have led them to abort their disabled baby, LifeNews reported. The Seattle Times reported the couple knew they had a 50-percent chance of having children with the debilitating genetic disorder unbalanced chromosome translocation, but a genetic test failed to detect the disorder in their unborn baby.
In 2014, an Illinois mother also sued her doctor, claiming that he botched her tubal ligation and it led to the birth of her daughter who has sickle cell disease.
While parents deserve to know the truth about test results and other medical issues, some have taken these cases in a dangerous direction by arguing that the misinformation prevented them from killing their child before birth.
“Wrongful birth and wrongful life lawsuits are just plain wrong,” pro-life blogger Rebecca Taylor previously wrote at LifeNews.
“The wrongful birth suit is brought by the parents of a sick or disabled child against a physician that, the parents say, was negligent. The wrongful birth lawsuit does not say that the doctor caused the disease or disability, which would be a valid reason to sue. Instead the wrongful birth lawsuit claims the that doctor failed to inform the parents of the illness or disability of the child and that had they known, they would have aborted their child.
“In other words, the parents are saying we wish our child was dead. Because he or she is not, the doctor has to pay,” Taylor wrote.