In a heartbreaking article in the Daily Mail, Jill and Iain Kelly admit that if they had known that their five-year-old son, Dylan, would be disabled they would’ve had an abortion.
Jill told the Daily Mail, “I love my son. He’s changed our lives. But if I’d known everything that Dylan would have to go through, and will have to go through, there’s no doubt in my mind that, given the correct information, I would have asked for a termination. I’m adamant about that. And it makes me feel guilty just saying it because Dylan is my world. I love him, he’s an amazing little boy.”
Dylan was born with severe micrognathia, a condition that causes acute breathing problems and an undersized jaw. Iain said, “We made it clear to the doctors that we didn’t want a child who wasn’t going to be able to ride a bike and do things that normal children do.” Now, Dylan has a permanent tracheotomy, has a deformed arm, slurred speech and must be feed nutrient-rich milk through his stomach.
When Jill went in fo her 20-week-scan at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, the sonographer told her that something was wrong with Dylan’s arm and another scan revealed that he could have radial club hand, a condition that causes the hand to point towards the body. After the scan, Jill couldn’t sleep or eat because she kept thinking she didn’t want a baby with disabilities. She didn’t want to bring a baby into the world that would have a sub-standard life. That’s when she made the decision to have an abortion.
However, doctors told her that this would be a rash decision and encouraged her to wait until she found out more at her next scan. She had an amniocentesis and chromosome test but both came back normal. The couple started to believe that Dylan’s condition would be minor and his arm and spine could be fixed with surgery. Iain said, “We knew we were going to have a baby with a bad arm and bad hand, but that was it.”
So when Dylan was born in July 2009 and had severe micrognathia coupled with trouble breathing, they were shocked. Additionally, doctors found that he had a cleft palate and a hole in his heart. Jill said, “The surgeon came to get consent to put a tracheotomy in and said it wasn’t looking good. I thought Dylan was dead. I remember discussing funeral arrangements with my dad.”
Amazingly, he pulled through but all of Dylan’s symptoms pointed to Baller-Gerold syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects fewer that one per million people. Despite their difficulties, they decided to try for another baby because they wanted to experience a “normal” child. But if their second child showed any signs of having disabilities, they would have an abortion. Their daughter, Mia, was born without abnormalities and is now three years old.
Unfortunately, because of the extensive care Dylan needed, both Iain and Jill were forced to leave their jobs and were declared bankrupt. Eventually, they even lost their home and for the last five years have been pursuing a legal battle with the National Health Service in England. They believe it was an injustice that they weren’t given the full picture of Dylan’s disabilities. This year Jill and Iain ended their pursuit for “justice” with NHS because they could no longer afford it.
While I have compassion for this family, it’s important to say it like it is or at least say it correctly; they regret “not terminating the pregnancy”, but what they really mean is “We wish we would’ve killed our son when we had the chance.” What’s even worse is they aren’t hiding that truth, instead, they are declaring to the world that Dylan should have been killed. Sadly, the most common form of abortion for a baby at twenty weeks (five months) is a dismemberment abortion, where a long-toothed, steel clamp grabs parts of the baby’s body and tears it apart piece by piece. In what world would that have been better for Dylan?
When Dylan’s older, Jill plans to tell him that she would’ve had an abortion with him if she could. But for his sake, and for hers, I hope she realizes that killing her fully formed baby through a gruesome and painful late abortion would have been the worst mistake of her life.