By Tim Waggoner

CHESTER, Wales, September 12, 2008 ( – This week, a UK court heard the case of a mother who allegedly deliberately drowned her disabled child in a bath because she was ashamed and embarrassed by her daughter’s cerebral palsy.

According to the Telegraph, prosecutor Michael Chambers explained to the court how Joanne Hill’s husband had refused to give four-year old Naomi up for adoption, despite Joanne’s inability to accept the fact that her daughter had cerebral palsy. He recounted the evening of the murder, November 26, 2007: “When the bath was full she told Naomi she was having a bath, but Naomi didn’t want one. The defendant carried her upstairs and undressed her.”

“The defendant put her in the bath and drowned her by holding her head under the water for a long time until she was dead.”

According to testimony Joanne then put her daughter’s clothes back on and after driving around for eight hours while intoxicated, entered the hospital claiming her daughter was unconscious. She was arrested at the hospital an hour later on suspicion of murder.

“The defendant couldn’t cope with caring for Naomi and left a lot of the everyday care to her husband Simon,” said Chambers.

A representative of the organization that babysat for Naomi reiterated this point, saying that Joanne was ashamed of Naomi and used to dress her in ways that would hide her disability.

Chambers also told the court that Joanne’s claims of mental problems as a reduced responsibility defense have not been “entirely honest”, describing how she had admitted to lying to doctors about voices in her head.

“She quite simply wanted Naomi dead,” said Chambers.

This trial, which is still in progress, comes during a week in which the devaluation of children with disabilities has been very much in the media spotlight, thanks largely to Gov. Sarah Palin’s much publicized decision to carry to term her son Trig, who has Down’s syndrome. 

Prominent bioethicist Wesley Smith recently commented on the media bias against Palin, and says it occurs in part because, “Palin is viewed as ‘the other,’ symbolized by her and Todd’s (Palin’s husband) loving acceptance of Trig.” Smith said he hopes that the unconditional love the Palin’s show to their son Trig will be an example for a world that is evermore justifying murder of the innocent.

“I hope that people will decide to emulate the Palins in their unconditional acceptance and love for their beautiful son, Trig,” said Smith.

However, according to a Globe and Mail report from several days ago, Palin’s loving and highly-publicized acceptance of her Down’s syndrome child has at least one doctor in Canada worried that her example may pressure some mothers to shun abortion after diagnosis of Down’s syndrome. “The worry,” said Dr. Andre Lalonde, executive vice-president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, “is that this [Palin’s example] will have an implication for abortion issues in Canada.”

Already in Canada and throughout the West, abortion rates for unborn children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome range from between 80% to 95%. In addition, prenatal screening for “abnormalities” other than Down’s syndrome is becoming an increasingly popular phenomenon, with the result being that those unborn children deemed to be “undesirable” for various reasons are increasingly aborted.

See related coverage:

Canadian Doctors Group Worried Palin Example Could Pressure Some Women to Not Abort Down’s Child