23 Dec 2008

Unwanted pregnancy no grounds for ACC compensation - Court of Appeal

11:36 am on 23 December 2008

The Court of Appeal has ruled a woman who became pregnant after a failed sterilisation operation is not entitled to compensation.

The Accident Compensation Corporation denied the woman's claim on the basis that pregnancy is a natural physiological function and not a personal injury.

The woman became pregnant and gave birth in 2004 despite previously having a tubal ligation.

She sought cover from ACC, claiming her pregnancy was a personal injury, but ACC denied the claim on the basis that pregnancy is a natural physiological function.

Appeals to the District and High Court, both ruled in favour of the woman, but on Monday, the Court of Appeal overturned those decisions.

Judges ruling on the case say the legislative terms "personal injury" and "physical injury" don't encompass pregnancy - even if it's unwanted.

[audiohttp://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/national/mnr/2008/12/23/accidental_pregnancy_ruled_not_covered_by_acc]Listen to more on Morning Report

Further appeal?

The woman's lawyer says she is reluctant to give up her fight for compensation.

If the case goes to the Supreme Court, lawyer Alex Hope says it would focus on the minority judgment held by Justice William Young who considers that pregnancy could be classed as an injury under the act.

Mr Hope says his client is very unhappy. She now lives in Australia.