Human Interest

Abortion is presented as the best answer to anencephaly, but parents need to know the truth

preborn babies, ultrasound, pregnancy centers, abortion, poll, diagnosis

A heartbreaking story is circling the internet involving a young family and their preborn baby who received a diagnosis of anencephaly at 16 weeks. The couple chose abortion but said they had to leave their state of Louisiana in order to undergo the procedure. The story focuses on the pain of the parents but never explains what ‘terminating the pregnancy’ meant for the baby at the heart of the story.

A diagnosis of anencephaly is devastating for parents. Anencephaly is a condition in which the skull doesn’t properly form, causing the brain to be exposed to amniotic fluids. Many children with anencephaly die within hours or weeks after birth, however, there is always hope for more time. Angela Morales, known as “Baby Angela” lived for two years and eight months with anencephaly — time her family called “incredible” and “full of love and joy.” Many doctors will pressure parents to abort their children after such a diagnosis, and sadly, many parents are led to believe that abortion is their only choice.

It isn’t.

Couple chooses abortion for baby with anencephaly

When Lousiana couple Brittany and Chris Vidrine learned their third child had anencephaly, they were understandably heartbroken. They said that Brittany had experienced complications during her previous two pregnancies and therefore, they determined that since their baby might die at birth, they should not take the risk of complications for Brittany in order to sustain the baby’s life any longer.

Though Louisiana allows abortion for situations such as a diagnosis of anencephaly, they could not find a doctor willing to commit the abortion, and they went to Colorado to undergo the abortion.

“Ultimately, there was no other choice for us,” Brittany said. “I have two other kids I need to be here for.”

Statistically, women who carry their preborn children to term after receiving such a diagnosis have better mental health outcomes than those who have an abortion, according to multiple studies. Research has revealed that women who have an abortion following a traumatic prenatal diagnosis have a higher risk of post-traumatic stress disorder and emotional anguish than women who carry their baby to term after such a diagnosis.

In addition, the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) explained that when a mother is at risk of complications, doctors should adhere to “treatment to save the mother’s life.” This can include premature delivery when necessary. Such a delivery is not an induced abortion because it does not involve intentionally and directly killing the preborn child as in an induced abortion. “We treat two patients,” said AAPLOG, “the mother and the baby…”

It does not appear that Brittany’s life was in immediate danger, but if it were, her baby did not have to be intentionally and directly killed in order to end the pregnancy.

Ember’s story

Just like the Vidrines, Joe Baker and his wife, Ann, experienced an anencephaly diagnosis for their fourth child, a baby girl named Ember. Baker is the founder of Save the Storks, and the couple refused abortion despite repeated pressure. Told that Ember had a 10% chance of surviving for one week after birth, they knew their time with her was too short, but decided to make the most memories they could with Ember while they still had her with them.

“Ann brought this map to me, and she said, ‘I want to take Ember to all of these places,’” Baker recalled. “And I’m like, ‘Ann, I don’t even think she’s going to be discharged from the hospital,’ and she’s like, ‘No, Joe. We’re going to all these places between now and November [when Ember was due to be born].’” From that moment, “The Ember Tour” was born. They traveled to Yosemite, Rocky Mountain National Park, Chicago, and other locations that were special to them.

They also decided that their three young sons would make artwork for the delivery room. It was a sweet way for them to welcome their sister at her birth. The next thing they knew, their son’s entire class, and then the entire school, was making artwork for Ember. After sharing their story, they received support from around the world.

“The beautiful part of the story is, when you carry a child like this, the overwhelming support and encouragement,” he said. “I compare that to someone who would choose to abort one of these children — it becomes their secret. It’s like they miss out on all of the experiences of getting to know their daughter like the way we have, and they miss out on all of that unbelievable support that would come their way. And I think about that, and it helps me realize that I wish the world could see that. I’d like to represent what could be, and what we could do, if we saw it differently.”

Ember was born on November 4, 2021, and lived outside the womb for one hour and six minutes.

“We loved her well, and it was life-changing for our whole family,” Baker told Live Action News. “It’s just amazing to see this little baby. She was very peaceful, and it was just precious, just that little bit of time. She just felt loved.”

At her death, Ann told her, “You were so worth it.”

What happens to the baby who is aborted

It is unclear what type of abortion procedure Brittany Vidrine underwent in Colorado or exactly how far along she was at the time. However, at 16 weeks (and after 16 weeks), there are two procedures that are typically used in an abortion: A D&E (dilation and evacuation) procedure and an induction abortion.

Studies show that even before 16 weeks, a preborn child can feel pain and has a hormonal stress response to invasive procedures.

A D&E abortion is the most commonly used second-trimester abortion procedure — and also the most brutally violent — between weeks 13 and 24 of pregnancy. During a D&E abortion, the child is killed when her arms and legs are torn from the rest of her body with a Sopher clamp. The abortionist then pulls out her spine and organs and crushes her skull. The procedure is so horrific that many abortionists refuse to commit it, and those that do, experience emotional trauma that leads to nightmares.

The procedure involves an increased amount of force as the baby’s gestational age increases. Abortionist DeShawn Taylor joked in an undercover video that she needed to “hit the gym” to have the strength needed to commit the dismemberment.

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Induction abortion is typically used beginning at 25 weeks, though in this case, because the baby was wanted, the Vidrines may have been offered this procedure because it appears more peaceful. The abortionist uses a needle to inject digoxin or potassium chloride through the mother’s abdomen or vagina, targeting the baby’s heart, torso, or head. The lethal dose causes fatal cardiac arrest. The abortionist then inserts laminaria sticks to open the woman’s cervix. She must return the following day for more laminaria and an ultrasound to see if the baby is dead. The woman returns to where she is staying to wait for her cervix to dilate enough for her to deliver her stillborn baby. This can take days. She then returns to the clinic to deliver the baby as long as she has not done so already in her hotel room. If there is a complication, the abortionist may then carry out a D&E procedure.

It is unknown what became of Baby Vidrine’s body after the abortion. Abortionists typically dispose of the child’s body in medical waste bins, but some couples opt to give their child a proper burial, and hopefully, Baby Vidrine received that respect after her death.

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