Human Interest

Healthy preborn baby aborted in Ireland after doctors’ misdiagnosis

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A couple who says they aborted their healthy preborn child by mistake is suing a hospital, health board, and private clinic for damages after doctors allegedly wrongly diagnosed the baby with a lethal health condition.

The couple, who aborted their baby in Ireland, claims to have received two test results in 2019 that indicated their preborn child had a genetic health condition that would cause death. Based on that, the couple aborted their baby. Later, another test result came in and showed that the child actually did not have any genetic health condition.

According to the Independent, “[The parents] claim that they were wrongly told that the unborn child had a fatal genetic abnormality, resulting in an unnecessary termination.”

But regardless of the child’s condition, the abortion was never necessary.

No child deserves abortion under any circumstances. Aborting a baby because of a diagnosis is an act of eugenics. Prenatal testing should not be used to single out and target babies with disabilities for death, but to help guide parents in securing proper medical care and other resources that will help them and their baby thrive.

The couple is seeking damages for personal injuries and the shock they suffered. They are suing the National Maternity Hospital (where the abortion was committed) as well as Merrion Fetal Health, a private facility run by five consultant OB-GYNs. This week, the High Court allowed the Greater Glasgow Health Board (GGHB) to be added as a defendant. According to the Independent, the other defendants claimed they had obtained the expert advice of the GGHB in diagnosing the child and advising the parents. The GGHB, they allege, furnished a faulty report regarding the child’s health, which was not in line with the best practice guidelines. The plaintiffs also sought to have GGHB added as a defendant.

The defendants are denying any wrongdoing in their actions that led to the child’s death, and the High Court has set a date in June for the hearing.

READ: After they aborted their baby for Trisomy 18, they found the test was wrong

In May of 2018, Ireland voted to decriminalize abortion, which officially became legal in the nation on January 1, 2019 — paving the way for this child’s abortion. Late-term abortion was legalized in the event of a poor prenatal diagnosis that would lead to the child’s death within the first 28 days after birth. After abortion was legalized in Ireland, the number of abortions increased by nearly 150%.

A 2020 study on abortions in Ireland published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology revealed that doctors are largely refusing to commit abortions in Ireland, babies are surviving abortions due to a lack of the use of feticide, and the word “fatal” is not clearly defined when describing a health condition for a preborn child. The study states:

Half of the FMSs expressed “uncertainty” regarding a diagnosis being fatal as it “depends” on an individual’s “definition” of what is fatal.

Relating to prognosis, participants identified that “there is never any certainty” when death will occur, and there is always an “outlier” (i.e., a baby that will live longer than expected). A couple of FMSs commented on the relief experienced when the baby dies, confirming that their diagnosis was “right.”

Doctors are concerned about lawsuits if they predict a baby will die but he or she does not. However, in this case, pushing a family to abort a child based on a misdiagnosis has proven that prenatal testing is not always accurate and that abortion is a tragedy that should never have been legalized in the first place.

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