Analysis

South African mother sues for “wrongful suffering” because her son was born with Down syndrome

Wrongful birth suits are not limited to just the United States. Intolerance of people with disabilities is an international problem, and one South African mother proved that point again, by filing a “wrongful suffering” lawsuit because she gave birth to a son with Down syndrome. She evidently did not have any prenatal testing — no, she’s just suing because she was at high risk for having a baby with Down syndrome, and had she known, she would have had an abortion… simply because she might have a child with an extra chromosome.

In a case that is the first of its kind, a Cape Town mother went to court on behalf of her Down’s syndrome six-year-old son. The mother, who cannot be named to protect the child’s identity, wants the Foetal Assessment Centre, in Claremont, to pay damages for, she says, failing to recognise that her unborn son was at “very high risk” of Down’s syndrome.

Had she known the severity of the risk, she would have aborted the foetus, she said.

If the court, which has reserved judgment, rules in favour of the mother, it would open the door to a new basis for a claim for damages, “wrongful suffering”.

South Africa does not recognize the increasingly-popular wrongful birth suits that we have been seeing in the United States, so instead, the mother filed for “wrongful suffering.” And while the parents always seem to insist they love their child, they also unfailingly assert that, if given the choice, they would have made sure the child that they “love” never existed.

The attitude present here? “Better dead than disabled.” It is sickening, and devalues the worth of people with disabilities. Each human life has value, even if some narrow-minded people can’t look past the fact that a person may look different or take a little longer to do things.

What’s especially horrifying about this particular suit is that the mother is filing on behalf of her son — meaning, her claim is that her son is the one who is damaged and suffering because his mother wasn’t given the risks of Down syndrome during pregnancy and therefore aborted.

This mother is actually arguing that her six-year-old son is raising his hand and saying “I wish my mommy had aborted me.” Of course, her son is likely doing no such thing. The reason she’s filing on behalf of her son is because she missed the window to file for herself, so instead, she’s going to claim that it’s her son who is upset over the fact that he was born. Shame on her.

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