Human Interest

Court rejects husband’s lawsuit against wife for giving birth to baby with Down syndrome

Down syndrome

A man in Egypt has filed a lawsuit against his own wife because their baby was born with Down syndrome.

According to Middle East Monitor, Ghada Al-Absi told Al-Arabiya that she was “surprised” by the lawsuit which was filed in February. She explained, “He asked for financial compensation and the annulment of our marriage contract after I had given birth to our daughter, Sidra, who had Down[] syndrome and died soon after her birth.”

In the lawsuit, which the court rejected, the man said he had been “psychologically and financially harmed by this marriage.” He claimed that his wife had lied to him and had known throughout the pregnancy that their daughter had Down syndrome, which Al-Absi has said is not true. She claimed that during her marriage she has been the victim of “psychological abuse” at the hands of her husband.

The husband also claimed that he has filed additional lawsuits requesting that his wife’s novel be prevented from being published because it bears the name of their daughter.

This is not the first time that the mishandling of a diagnosis by doctors has caused a parent to want to abandon their child. In 2015, a woman left her husband and their son after the boy was born with Down syndrome. The husband, Samuel Forrest, said that she gave him an ultimatum. If he wanted to keep the baby, she would divorce him. If they placed the baby in an orphanage, she would stay. He refused to place their son for adoption. Just weeks later, however, the wife, Ruzan Forrest, changed her mind and returned to her family.

READ: Girl with Down syndrome almost kicked out of New Zealand until last-minute reprieve

Doctors had told her that her son would never walk or talk or feed himself, which had left her distraught. She realized that the diagnosis was not as dire as the doctors made it appear, and she is now “grateful” that her family gave her a second chance.

A year after her son’s birth she said, “At first I was very, very scared because I didn’t know what Down syndrome was like. Doctors said he would be like a vegetable. It was very scary. I think I was also very selfish and then there was depression… all of that together.”

“I love him very much,” she added. “One year ago, I couldn’t imagine life with him and now, I can’t really imagine my life without him. He’s changed me so much. I can say I’m a different person now.”

Families have also begun to file wrongful birth lawsuits against doctors when their child is born with Down syndrome despite undergoing testing that appeared to show their child was not at high risk of having the health condition. These parents claim they would have killed their child by abortion had they known about a Down syndrome diagnosis prior to birth.

Misinformation about Down syndrome and the misuse of prenatal testing has been used to justify the mass-slaughtering of people with Down syndrome in the womb. While there is not an official statistic, a 2012 study by medical experts estimated the abortion rate for children with Down syndrome is 67% in the U.S. It is higher in other nations, such as Iceland where the rate is nearly 100%.

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