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Matt on Radio: Women tells Court of Appeal being pregnant with a defective baby is an injury

March 5th, 2013 by Madeleine

A New Zealand woman has gotten her case against the Accident Compensation Corporation (“ACC”) into the Court of Appeal. The Herald carried the story. Matt was interviewed for his view on Radio Rhema last week.

The woman was told at her 20-week scan that "no anatomical abnormality" was detected. Photo / Getty Image

ACC claim mother: I would have aborted

Woman says she would have terminated pregnancy had she been told baby was disabled.

A woman who says she would have terminated her pregnancy had doctors properly diagnosed her unborn child with spina bifida is seeking ACC cover for her disabled daughter.

In what her lawyer says could be a landmark case if she is successful, the woman has won the right to a hearing in the Court of Appeal against the decision by the Accident Compensation Corporation not to grant her cover for her young daughter.

The Auckland mother says her 5-year-old daughter, who walks mostly with a support frame, may miss out on crucial and costly physiotherapy as she grows older.

“We want her to have the best possible life that we can give her and with ACC cover it makes it a lot easier for us to be able to provide everything we need to provide,” said the mother, who did not want to be named.

She said her evidence to the court that she would have chosen to abort the pregnancy if she and her partner had been told of their daughter’s condition at 20 weeks’ pregnancy was difficult testimony to give.

“Obviously once she’s with us we want and love her,” the mother said yesterday.


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4 responses so far ↓

  • This women is effectively trying to make human fallibility punishable. When that happens people live in fear, as any employer will tell you in regard to OSH laws (which require bosses to take “all reasonable measures”: what is “reasonable”?).

    The law which places says that’s okay to kill a disabled baby but not an able-bodied one is essentially eugenic in nature.

    Would those who regard an unwanted baby as a trespasser, predator or aggressor say the same about a pilot who parachuted out of a crippled plane and landed on their property? If not, why not? Perhaps because they’re trying to justify what their heart desires.

  • Aborting the baby would have been a crime under NZ Law.

    From the Crimes Act
    182 Killing unborn child

    (1) Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 14 years who causes the death of any child that has not become a human being in such a manner that he would have been guilty of murder if the child had become a human being.

    (2) No one is guilty of any crime who before or during the birth of any child causes its death by means employed in good faith for the preservation of the life of the mother.

  • Actually, I had a cousin with Spina Bifida, Michael. He lived to fifteen years of age and wanted to become an architect, like his dad. Sadly, he didn’t make it. In terms of disability rights, this woman has a point, given ACC’s increasingly restrictive terms of reference (which may not be compliant with either the Bill of Rights or the Human Rights Act’s equality sections).

    If one wants fewer disability related terminations, then the answer is to create a more disability-inclusive culture and engage in substantive measures to increase the quality of life, standards of care and employment and educational opportunities open to people with disabilities, whatever their disabilities. I have a nephew with osteogenesis imperfecta (brittle bone syndrome), so this subject is very close to my heart.