The Robertson family of the popular television show Duck Dynasty is no stranger to fame. Jase Robertson and his wife Missy Robertson may be well known for another reason now, one which very much warms the heart. When Missy was asked if they thought of aborting their daughter Mia when they found out she would be born with a cleft lip and possibly a cleft palate as well, Missy answered “absolutely not.”
When asked whether she considered ending her pregnancy upon learning that her unborn daughter Mia was going to be born with a cleft lip and possible cleft palate, Duck Dynasty’s Missy Robertson said, “absolutely not,” stressing that “God gave each and every one of us life, as a gift,” and that “Mia has a special importance now in her life” because of her condition, which has been corrected over the years through several surgeries.
Just like any child diagnosed with a disability (which may not even come to be, or which may not be as bad as doctor’s predict), Mia is indeed special. While no one would wish a cleft lip or cleft palate on Mia or anyone else, she and her family have certainly been able to grow and learn from this experience.
Speaking at a press conference sponsored by Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), who was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate, and is a stalwart champion of the pro-life cause, Missy brought up another telling point about such diagnoses parents receive about their children during their pregnancy:
“Who am I to decide that for her?” said Missy Robertson. “God already decided that, allowed that to happen. I’m so glad for this opportunity – I wouldn’t ask for this, this special challenge in our life, no, we wouldn’t – but I’m very grateful for it. I’m grateful for the challenge, and I’m grateful for Mia, as a human being. I can’t imagine our life without her.”
Such a point has been echoed by many others who chose life for their disabled children. If we believe that God creates each and every one of us, and that he has a purpose then for each and every one of us, even those who may experience disabilities which others do not, then it is not our place to end that person’s life. To do so is to play God.
While no one wishes for a cleft lip or a cleft palate, is such a condition enough to warrant an abortion? For those who are fundamentally against abortion, the answer is clear. But for those who are on the fence, the issue is worth examining. As was the case for Mia, many who are born with either or both conditions have it corrected through surgery. The process may take years and be difficult at times, but it is not debilitating enough to warrant a death before an attempt at correction is even made.
On “Management and Treatment” the CDC has this to say about the condition:
With treatment, most children with orofacial clefts do well and lead a healthy life. Some children with orofacial clefts may have issues with self-esteem if they are concerned with visible differences between themselves and other children. Parent-to-parent support groups can prove to be useful for families of babies with birth defects of the head and face, such as orofacial clefts.
If “most children… do well and lead a healthy life[,]” then why is an abortion, particularly a late-term abortion? If one were to bring up the reason of “issues with self-esteem…” I raise to them the task of presenting to me a child, “normal” or otherwise, who has never had issues with self-esteem.
It is also certainly worth noting that medical websites, not necessarily pro-life in nature for that matter, acknowledge and talk about the child with such a birth defect as the human person they are. KidsHealth for instance has a paragraph which says “Celebrate Your Child.” Under the headline, “For the Child,” Mayo Clinic says “Focus on your child as a person, not on his or her cleft.”
As such parenting and medical websites rightfully point out, and as the Robertson family has realized, those of us who have been affected with cleft lips or cleft palates are still children. They have been created by God, with a special purpose in mind for them.