In a landmark case at a Spanish court, a judge ordered a doctor to pay child support to a baby born after he botched an abortion. The judge made the ruling in Palma, Spain, after the child was born healthy following a full term pregnancy.
New York Daily News reports the birth of a healthy baby after the doctor allegedly performed a surgical abortion in April 2010, to terminate the pregnancy.
According to The Telegraph, the mother, after the surgical operation, returned home believing the pregnancy had been terminated. She did not know that she was still pregnant until three months later. At that point, it was too late for her to repeat the surgical procedure.
NY Daily News reports Judge Francisco Perez, ordered the doctor and the clinic to pay $1,300 a month until the child's 26th birthday and $189,000 for "moral damages" suffered by the 24-year-old mother.
According to the woman's lawyer, Eva Munar, the unprecedented ruling was fair being a case of professional negligence. According to The Guardian, Munar said: “There has never been a case like this before in Spain. We don’t know if it has ever happened anywhere else in the world."
The judge said the doctor's mistake was irreversible disruption and emotional damage to the woman who expressed sadness and guilt at the incident. According to The Guardian, she was already seven weeks pregnant when, two years ago, she visited Emece clinic in Palma, on the Island of Majorca in Spain, to terminate the pregnancy. She returned for a follow up two weeks later and the doctor assured her the procedure had been done successfully. The womam said: “The scan lasted three minutes and I was out again. It was: ‘You are fine, off you go and carry on with your life as normal.'"
The Guardian reports that when, three months later, the woman returned to the clinic, she thought she was carrying a new pregnancy, but ultrasound revealed it was the same old pregnancy intact. She was 22 weeks pregnant, and the clinic told her it was too late for her to legally terminate it. Fox News reports that the clinic offered her a refund and told her to visit a clinic in Barcelona that they thought could perform a late-term abortion, but the doctors there refused to carry out the abortion.
The woman was particularly disturbed by the fact that she would have to explain to the child the circumstances of his birth later in life. She said: “When I have to explain all this to him, I’ll try to make sure that he feels okay about it. It was back then that he was not wanted, not now.”
Fox News reports that the woman said she no more regrets giving birth to her baby who is now 18 months old and healthy.
The Telegraph reports that Spain reformed its abortion laws under the previous socialist government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero in 2010. Under the new law, public hospitals allow women abortion on demand up to 14 weeks of pregnancy. Before the reform, abortion was illegal across Spain except in the cases of rape, serious deformity or serious risk to the woman's health.
NY Daily News reports that the doctor and the clinic are expected to appeal the decision.