In another instance of abortion being presented as a ‘treatment’ for a child with a medical condition (this one affecting the brain), a couple in Texas is claiming the baby’s mother is being put in danger by Texas’ pro-life law. The couple claims she is being prevented from a medically necessary abortion because Texas protects preborn children from induced abortion.
It is important to note that Texas law allows abortion for the mother’s health or life. It does not, however, allow for discriminatory abortions due to a child’s prenatally diagnosed disability.
According to ABC News, Kylie Beaton was excited to be having her second child with her husband Seth, but then the baby was diagnosed with a rare condition called alobar holoprosencephaly, in which his brain did not split into two hemispheres but remained fused in the middle. Alobar holoprosencephaly causes issues with the brain, nose, mouth, and throat and can lead to death either before birth or after.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, the condition exists in 1 in 250 preborn children but only one in 16,000 survive to birth — though that number may be skewed by abortion. Dr. Katie McHugh, an Indiana OB-GYN and abortionist, told ABC News that she recommends abortion for children with the condition. There is no way to know how long the children who were killed in the womb would have lived otherwise.
Beaton explained that her doctors predict her son could survive outside the womb for a couple of weeks.
Dr. Carrie Rouse, an OB-GYN and maternal fetal medicine specialist at Indiana University Health, said that the Beaton’s baby’s condition is “typically lethal for most infants within days to weeks.” She said there are “outliers” who can survive up to a year with a high level of intervention.
Beaton, unable to have an abortion in Texas, tried to have an abortion in New Mexico where there are no abortion restrictions, but was told by the facility she contacted that at more than 23 weeks, she was too far along to undergo an abortion at that facility. She was advised to go to Colorado to have an abortion which would cost up to $15,000.
Now about 29 weeks pregnant, her son’s head is continuing to increase in size due to fluid, and doctors say she will need a C-section, which she has maintained she does not want, as the scar would remind her of the loss of her son, as well as the fact that it takes longer to recover from a C-section than a vaginal delivery. She wants to try for another baby as soon as possible.
“You worry about ongoing growth of the fetal head of causing more complications at the time of delivery, like hemorrhage, needing a blood transfusion, needing to use a larger incision on her abdomen in order to to remove the infant, needing to use a larger and different incision on the uterus in order to remove the infant,” Rouse said. “There’s a risk of possibly uterine rupture just because of the stretch on the uterus. All of these things would make me pretty worried.”
Yet, Texas law allows for abortion if the mother “has a life-threatening physical condition aggravated, caused by, or arising from a pregnancy that places the female at risk of death or poses a serious risk of substantial impairment of a major bodily function.” This means that doctors in Texas could legally induce labor to protect Beaton from “substantial impairment of a major bodily function” if the situation dire. An emergency induction of labor is not an induced abortion — which is the direct and intentional killing of the child prior to delivery. Ending the pregnancy does not require killing and is not prohibited to save Beaton.
Beaton’s case is heartbreaking, but not all hope is lost.
Choosing life for Blakely
In April 2017, Emily and Michael Puckett welcomed their daughter Blakely, who was diagnosed with alobar holoprosencephaly following Emily’s 20-week ultrasound. Doctors suggested abortion, but the couple refused.
“[…] We had to make the decision on whether to terminate or not pretty quickly, due to the laws in Missouri. I will not lie and say the thoughts didn’t cross my mind as I was bombarded with this devastating and frightening news, however, Mikey and I immediately told the doctors we wanted to keep the baby, no matter the circumstances,” wrote Emily Puckett on the couple’s blog. “We didn’t know the outcome of this pregnancy but we knew God was sovereign and her life was meant for something!”
Blakely lived for 10 months after her birth.
Choosing life for Pearl Joy
Eric Brown and his wife Ruth also welcomed a daughter, Pearl Joy, who was diagnosed with alobar holoprosencephaly following their 20-week ultrasound. They were advised on the day of the diagnosis to induce labor and say goodbye. They refused.
“We knew that if we proclaimed that God had knit her siblings together in Ruth’s womb then we had to say that he was doing the same for Pearl,” said Brown. “It’s not as if He stepped out for a break or if He left her development to the forces of nature and happenstance while He carried on with other tasks. Our hearts were overflowing with the sense that this was God’s handiwork and I remember just how clear certain phrases from hymns and scriptures began resonating in a way they otherwise likely never would have.”
Pearl was born in July 2012 and she lived a life of love for nearly six years after birth, chronicled by her photographer father.
“Things didn’t go wrong,” he said. “God has designed Pearl the way He wanted, for His glory and our good. […] If there is a chance, you say yes to that chance. The only thing I know about parenting is that you say yes.”
Choosing life for Matthew
At 23 weeks, Drew and Ariann Corpstein learned their preborn son had semi lobar holoprosencephaly, in which the brain partially divides. Doctors said he was missing most of his brain and that he would not survive. They told the couple to abort, but they refused.
In July 2018, with Matthew’s head measuring 4-5 weeks ahead, Matthew was delivered by induction. They had expected him to be blind and deaf, but he responded to light, voices, and touch. An MRI showed that Matthew had been misdiagnosed and that he actually had hydrocephalus and needed emergency surgery to place a shunt in his brain to drain excess fluid.
Matthew is now four years old.
It’s understandable that Beaton is frightened about the pregnancy, about the birth of her son, about the possibility of seeing him in pain or struggling to live, and about the effect it will all have on her own health and ability to get pregnant again in the future. The entire situation has been traumatic. But doctors failed Beaton when instead of giving her support and guidance, they told her abortion was the only option — adding to the trauma instead of empowering her to give her child a chance.
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