My daughter was diagnosed with triploidy, a rare genetic disorder where the baby has three sets of chromosomes instead of two. Triploidy has a 100% fatality rate. Most babies with triploidy are miscarried early in pregnancy, but some survive until shortly after birth.
My husband and I did not find out our daughter had triploidy until genetic testing after my miscarriage, but if we had discovered her condition during amniocentesis, there is no way I would have terminated my pregnancy. “Terminating a pregnancy” is actually a sugar coated way of describing an abortion. My midwife told me that my daughter was “incompatible with life” and if I hadn’t lost her at 13 weeks, we would likely have discovered her disorder later in the second trimester. The following are reasons I would never have aborted my daughter, despite her lethal condition:
- I would have given anything to carry her longer — even just one more day. We had a biological bond and ending her life early would not have alleviated the pain of losing her. Just because she was going to die eventually does not mean I should make her precious life even shorter than it was already fated to be. If your toddler was diagnosed with an incurable cancer, would you just go ahead and kill her now so you didn’t have to wait for her to die?
- I would have done anything to have delivered her as a stillborn or living infant I could hold in my arms. As a 13 week miscarried fetus she was too tiny to wrap my arms around. With a live birth I could have heard her first and last breaths. With a stillborn I could have dressed her in baby clothes, taken pictures holding her with my husband, kissed her and said goodbye.
- I would never want to live with the guilt of making the decision to end my child’s life, when I could have waited for her to pass away from natural causes. How could I live with myself, knowing it was me who ended my own daughter’s life? What would I tell my future children – that I aborted their sister? How could I expect sympathy from loved ones for losing a very wanted child, when I had been the one to end her life? How would I sleep at night, knowing I did not fight with every fiber of my being for my daughter’s life?
- Doctors have often been wrong. They are human beings, not Gods. There are many cases where doctors have told families their babies would not survive, and they were either wrong in their diagnosis, or the baby defied all odds.
- Abortion inflicts trauma upon the baby’s body. In first and second trimester pregnancies, abortion dismembers the baby while it’s still alive. In third trimester pregnancies, abortion involves a lethal injection into the baby’s heart or skull. Why go through this inhumane procedure when you could just let nature take its course?
I am sure pro-choicers reading this will tell me that carrying to term may have been the best choice for me, but that I am in no position to choose what’s best for someone else. Well, I don’t think abortion is ever the answer. Ending the life of your own child is never going to set you on a path to healing. How is dismembering your child alive, or injecting her skull or heart with a giant needle going to alleviate your grief?
I’m sure pro-choicers will also tell me that abortion is often necessary to protect the mother’s health. If carrying a child with a fetal anomaly causes health problems for the mother, doctors can monitor her closely. If a condition becomes so serious that the mother’s life is in danger, doctors are already obligated to save the mother’s life first. Further, thousands of OB/GYNs have confirmed that there is never a situation where an abortion would be a safer option for the mother than delivering the baby.
Why cut your child’s life short just because you know she is going to die? Real mothers fight to protect their child’s life. Ending her life early (in a very violent manner) is not going to make your pain go away, despite how bad you want it to. There is no diagnosis in the world that would ever cause me to end my own child’s life, and it absolutely breaks my heart that this is the solution many doctors are recommending to women facing tragic circumstances.