At age 37, actress Lynn Ferguson (who was the voice of Mac in Chicken Run) discovered she was pregnant. Her pregnancy was labeled as “geriatric,” as is any pregnancy after age 35. Because of this, doctors asked her to do an amniocentesis to check for Down syndrome. When Ferguson refused, that should have been the end of it. But it was just the beginning of the pressure put on her as an older mother. Later on, she also refused abortion and switched hospitals.
“[…] it’s not technically the baby’s fault that I’m old, you know,” she said on The Moth. “So I’m not gonna take a risk. Not unless there’s a good reason.”
Despite her desire not to have the test and risk miscarriage, doctors continued to tell her to have the amniocentesis. Ferguson said she kept telling them no and pushing it aside, trying to get out of it without much conflict.
“Look, can your test tell me that this kid will not be a jerk?” she joked. “Can your test reassure me that this baby is not going to be one of those horrible screaming ones that annoys the hell out of everybody in restaurants and airplanes? Can your test assure me that this tiny, growing human baby will not mature into a fully grown adult with some horrific affinity for Peruvian panflute music?”
While she was concerned that her baby could have Down syndrome, she was worried about other things as well and saw no reason for the test. Then at the 20-week ultrasound, she found out she was having a boy, and that he had a “statistically large head” and that one side of his brain had cysts.
The specialist informed her that the umbilical cord had a vessel missing and advised the couple to do a test that would sample blood from the umbilical cord. She turned it down.
“Look, this is a bit of drag, but we hadn’t planned on a Down syndrome baby, but, you know, there’s worse things than being Down syndrome, right?” she told doctors. “I mean, being Down syndrome doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it just means you’re, like, a bit different. So if he’s Down syndrome, so be it.”
Doctors told her they were no longer concerned about Down syndrome, but Edwards syndrome. Also known as Trisomy 18, babies often die in the womb or shortly after birth, although some do live (like Melody). Doctors told Ferguson she had to have the test.
“You know, we had so many scans,” said Ferguson. “I had seen my son. I’d seen his heart. I’d seen the inside of his eyes. I’d seen his hands and his feet and, in fact, during one of the scans, he’d held his hand up to the front of my body as if to say, ‘Will you go away? I’m busy. Leave me alone. I’m growing.’ I had felt my son move inside my body. What did it matter if he had a disorder or not? You know what, if he was gonna die, we are all gonna die sometime, right? We should meet first. He was my son and he needed me. He depended on me to make the right decision. So I said, ‘No.'”
Unconditional love. No matter what, Ferguson knew this was her son, and knew he deserved his life, no matter how short it was.
Then, at 25 weeks the doctors offered her an abortion. Ferguson and her husband changed hospitals. She said it became “obvious that they wanted a war, but I just wanted to see my baby.” The type of abortion typically done at this stage is an induction abortion, in which doctors first inject the drug Digoxin into the baby’s heart to stop it. Former abortionist Dr. Antony Levatino explains:
At 35 weeks and five days, Ferguson went into labor. She and her husband barely spoke on the way to the hospital, both scared of what was to come. Her son was born purple and the room went silent. Doctors rushed to resuscitate him, and soon, Ferguson was handed her son – who was completely healthy.
She named him Fergus, which in Irish means, “The right choice.” In Scottish it means “courage.”
Fergus is now 11 years old.
Her story is worth hearing directly from her. It’s funny, it’s heartwarming, and it is life-affirming. Her choice for life was disregarded by doctors repeatedly, yet she stood firm. How many other women have suffered greatly when doctors pressured them and convinced them to abort their children in the name of “choice”?
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