Tragically, the few babies who escape abortion and are born with anencephaly don’t typically live very long. But a little girl in Rhode island has defied the odds and turned 6 months old.
“She’s doing great,” Angela’s mother, Sonia Morales, told a Rhode Island Catholic reporter last week. “She’s almost 14 pounds, and she’s growing well.”
Angela’s family has done everything to help her condition — and Angela underwent a three-hour surgery in may to close an opening at the top of her head. The newspaper says Angela was also born with an encephalocele, another neural tube defect characterized by sac-like protrusions of the brain and membranes that cover it through openings in the skull. During the surgery, doctors removed the encephalocele, and closed the opening.
Those babies who survive to birth almost all die in the first hours or days after birth. There is no curative treatment available, only symptom relief.
Over 95% of parents opt for abortion in countries where this is legal and 208 babies with the condition were aborted in England and Wales in 2012, for example.
Morales, a parishioner at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Providence, said doctors predicted Angela would likely be stillborn or die within a few hours or days following her birth. But on September 23, Angela will turn six months old.
“Everything she’s doing they said she wouldn’t be able to do,” said Morales, as her husband, Rony, holds Angela, and their older daughter, Elizabeth, 5, looks on. “She smiles when we talk to her, and she’s responding to our voices and our love. She’s starting to crawl, and she can scoot three feet. She cries when she’s hungry, and lets us know what she doesn’t like. She loves to be touched, and she loves kisses. We were prepared for the worst, but God had other plans.”
While she was pregnant with Angela, Morales started a Facebook account not only to raise awareness about anencephaly, but to also defend human life. The account has more than 3,100 “likes,” with Morales adding that it has generated at least 50,000 views.
Morales often receives messages of support, noting that many women who have poor-prenatal diagnoses tell her that baby Angela gives them hope. One woman, said Morales, refused to tell anyone that her fetus was diagnosed with anencephaly, as she was ashamed and afraid.
“But by seeing Angela, she told her family that her baby has this condition and she started raising awareness,” Morales said. “She was hiding, but now she’s talking about her baby.”
Yet, not every Facebook user praises Morales. She said she recently received a message from someone who accused her of being a religious fanatic, claiming that aborting a fetus with a birth defect is “merciful.”
“Their defense was that the child won’t have a full life,” said Morales. “But what guarantee do you have? Some people have everything in life and they are miserable. Angela is not suffering. She’s full of love, and where there is love, there is life. I responded back that I had the baby because of pure love. Mercy is loving someone with their imperfections. No one is perfect. We just need to love them despite their imperfections, and give them the best life possible.”
Photo Credit: Rhode Island Catholic