Lauren Webster, a Scottish woman, has gone public about being repeatedly pressured to undergo an abortion after being told her preborn baby had a fatal birth defect. In an interview with the Scotsman, Webster said that after refusing an abortion, her son was born healthy.
Webster, 21, had previously suffered two miscarriages, but was hopeful about her latest pregnancy. “When I found out I was pregnant, I was very scared because of what had happened before,” she told the Scotsman. “But I just had a gut feeling that this was my time.” But then, at 13 weeks, she had an ultrasound at the Princess Royal Maternity Hospital in Glasgow and was told there was a problem with her baby.
“I was scared when I found out I was pregnant with Ollie,” she said. “I just thought, this is going to happen again. Because I had had two miscarriages previously, I got two early scans but there was a heartbeat so they weren’t concerned. But when I went for my 13-week scan, the doctor told me he had a bladder obstruction. She asked me if I wanted to terminate, saying there was a low chance he would survive.”
After Webster refused to have an abortion, she was told to come in for weekly ultrasounds to monitor the baby — but her wish to save her baby’s life wasn’t honored. “Every week she was asking me if I wanted to terminate,” Webster recalled. “She said she had to ask me. It was around Christmas time and I was feeling very down. I said to her ‘don’t ask me that again because I’m keeping it.’ By 18 weeks she had noticed that the bladder had repaired itself.”
But her problems were far from over — doctors then told Webster that her baby might have Edwards syndrome, and the pressure to have an abortion resumed again. Doctors told her that her baby wouldn’t survive past the age of four, but then doctors found out that he didn’t actually have the condition.
“After that, the doctor was shocked about how perfect he turned out in the scans,” Webster said. “I went into labour early and had to get an emergency caesarean because his heart rate was going up and down. Ollie was in the special care unit for a week but he came out absolutely fine. He was a good weight, he was 5lb 14oz. He’s a big boy. He’s got a condition called talipes which means his feet are a bit turned and he had to undergo a minor hernia op but apart from that is healthy. He sleeps good and is feeding well, he’s great. If someone else was to go through that experience, I wouldn’t want them to terminate because you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
This kind of pressure to have an abortion isn’t unusual at all; many parents report being pushed toward ending the lives of their preborn babies. Some parents, like Webster, have found that there ended up being no medical problems with their children, but others steadfastly chose life regardless of a diagnosis, knowing that the value of someone’s life is not dependent on the lack of a disability, or on how long they will live. As for Webster, she had a simple reason for telling her story in the end, saying, “I just think everyone should read my story and never give up hope.”
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