Epilogue of the AK affair versus Latvia: A Down syndrome child does not constitute “prejudice”

Publié le : 23 June 2014

On Tuesday, 25 June, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) made its closing speech in the case AK vs. Latvia, the epilogue to a legal battle fought since 2012. Basically, the Court sided with Latvia versus the applicant – the mother of a Down syndrome child who filed the case against her country because she did not have access to “screening that would have highlighted the risk of a genetic anomaly in the fœtus and would have allowed the woman to decide whether or not to continue her pregnancy”.   

In fact, the Court “has not expressly recognised the right to an abortion commensurate with the European Convention on Human Rights but only and indirectly the woman’s right to information regarding the health of her unborn child. The Court has therefore not granted the applicant the sum of 253,000 Euros, which she claimed, on the basis of material prejudice (lost income and compensation for the child)”.


The case motivated around thirty European associations linked to Down syndrome. Under the banner of “Stop Eugenics Now  to protect disabled people / Stopper l’eugénisme maintenant pour protéger les personnes handicapées !”, a petition, supported primarily in France by the Fondation Jérôme Lejeune, received over 10,000 signatures. 

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