They Said Her Son Was “Incompatible With Life” and Would Die in a Few Weeks, Now He’s 14

Opinion   |   Brad Smtih   |   Jun 24, 2015   |   12:18PM   |   Washington, DC

The South Carolina legislature is working to pass a 20-week abortion ban that will not include rape or incest exceptions; however it will have an exception. Dr. Robert Ridgeway, democrat representative, said their committee decided to add exceptions only for “fetal anomaly.”

“Ridgeway, a trained medical doctor, said that the fetal anomaly exception should be left on because it’s essentially a medical decision to be made by a doctor.” (quote from a story at

Let’s stop and think about that for a moment. Here is a doctor referring to a child in the womb as a “fetal anomaly.” He also says “it’s essentially a medical decision.”

Dr. Ridgeway, who made you, the doctor, the arbiter of life and death? Why do you refer to a disabled child as a medical decision? Your statement does not even consider the parents in the decision making. For years, I have been telling about doctors who do not want these special needs children to even be born. In one statement, you have confirmed everything about the kind of doctor who pretends to be God.

Well Dr. Ridgeway, I would like to introduce you to one of your “fetal anomaly exceptions.” Kayden is a sweet young man with Trisomy 18 which is considered by most doctors to be “incompatible with life.” Today I read a post by Kayden’s mom, Marta McClanahan, and I thought that you should read it too.

My sweetest Kayden is 14 years old TODAY!! WOW *tears* Tears of JOY and tears of sadness all in one. We are so incredibly BLESSED and thankful that we have Kayden in our lives. Most of you know that we were told Kayden wouldn’t live more than a couple weeks or months if we were lucky, but here we are, and he has come so far and is so amazing in so many ways.


As I was walking through the store last night, it HIT me that Kayden is 14 and should be asking for all kinds of stuff for his birthday. He should be playing sports and running around with friends, annoying the heck out of me and crushing on GIRLS! It saddens me that he can’t talk or walk and has to eat his food through a tube. I kept thinking of the fact that no matter how old he is, his life is never safe and we truly have no clue how long he will be here with us; especially considering that we have lost a lot of Trisomy friends this year. Kayden is getting so big, and I worry about the fact that I can’t afford an accessible minivan and then wonder how much longer will my back take carrying him? With these things running through my head, I couldn’t help crying as I walked through the store. I just couldn’t hold it in. I don’t think of these things often at all in order to LIVE every day and because Kayden does very well and is so strong. But for some reason, my fears took over my thoughts last night.

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Today I SMILE, and quickly I am reminded looking through all his photos just how amazing, happy, strong and HEALTHY he is. I’m THANKFUL that he is smaller for his age so I CAN carry him and love feeling him pat my back and laugh as I do. I wouldn’t change that for anything. This smiley boy, whose grin warms everyone’s heart just by looking at him, has done so much in his 14 years that most other “able bodied” people have not.

He can say “momma” and sign mom and dad. That in itself is amazing as many Trisomy kids cannot. He has dipped his sweet bootie in the ocean and grazed his feet through the soft sands of Florida and California more than once. He has been to BOTH Disneyland and Disney world; down the water slides at Wisconsin Dells; felt the warmth of Arizona’s sun; strolled down the board walk in Chicago; enjoyed camp bonfires in Illinois; had fun on rides at MOA “the biggest mall in America;” has won turtle races; zip lined with his momma; ridden in go karts; has touched so many lives bringing others to the Lord; and helped SAVE other Trisomy babies by his story being shared with doctors and other parents who almost didn’t go through with their pregnancy. Because of Kayden, I have started my own non-profit called “Trisomy Families” and have gone to speak at Bioethics conferences to help FIGHT for kids just like him.

YES, there are so many things Kayden can’t do but there are so many things he CAN!!! Anyone who knows my adorable amazing son will tell you that even though he can’t talk (well, he does say momma), his eyes and smile say it all. He LOVES life, and he LOVE’S his family, and we LOVE him too, and that’s all that matters. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY SWEET BOY!!!! I pray for many more. Thank you Jesus for my baby boy.

In this post, Marta expresses so well the struggles, but also the unparalleled joys of parenting a special needs child. Dr. Ridgeway, as a fellow parent of a Trisomy 18 child, I understand exactly how much Marta loves her son and how much Kayden loves his family. Clearly he is not a fetal anomaly, exception, nor medical decision. He is a human being with inalienable rights and deserves his right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. No doctor or person has the right to make a “medical decision” to snuff out the life of a child simply because of a disability.

Dr. Ridgeway, after reading this and seeing Kayden, I only have one more question for you. Why do you despise children with disabilities and want to make them an exception to be terminated?

Happy BIRTHday Kayden!!


LifeNews Note: Brad Smith and his wife Jesi are Save The 1 ( pro-life speakers from Rochester Hills, Michigan. Learn more about Brad and Jesi at