New Zealand High Court Rules that Pregnancy is an “Injury” June 27, 2007
The New Zealand High Court recently upheld a District Court ruling that an unwanted pregnancy, occurring after a failed sterilization attempt, is considered an “injury” to the woman’s body. The lawsuit involved a mother who “accidentally” became pregnant with her fifth child after undergoing sterilization four years ago, the New Zealand Herald reports. According to Lawyer magazine, Judge Jillian Moore mentioned stretch marks, nausea, vomiting and other signs of the physical and hormonal changes that a woman undergoes during pregnancy. Referring to these symptoms, Moore stated, “if these kinds of changes and resulting effects were suffered by some other impact upon the body…there would be little difficulty in calling them harm.”Judge Moore concluded that while pregnancy is itself a natural process, the effects of pregnancy involve an injury to the woman’s body, reports the Herald. In this particular case, the mother had sustained an injury for “having her bodily integrity invaded”. Judge Mallon attempted to limit the decision, however, to cases in which women became pregnant without consent. If a woman had “consensual intercourse”, the pregnancy is not considered an “accident”, and the accident-compensation agency ACC would not be required to pay for “damages”.