Thousands of people followed an Irish couple on Twitter today as they posted live updates about their abortion experience.
A number of UK news outlets also followed the couple’s story through their Twitter account @Itstimetorepeal “Heartbroken&Punished.” The Dublin, Ireland couple said they wanted their baby but decided on abortion after prenatal testing revealed that the unborn baby had a fatal genetic condition.
The unnamed couple said they have an older son who has disabilities and requires continuous care. When they began trying to have a second child, they said they knew there was a risk that that child also could have a genetic disorder.
The Irish couple said they were excited when they found out they were pregnant with their second child, but their joy turned to pain as prenatal tests revealed that their unborn baby tested positive for Edwards syndrome, also known as Trisomy 18. Most babies with Trisomy 18 die before birth or shortly after, but some survive. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum’s daughter Bella is one of them.
After considering the idea that their baby would die in the womb or shortly after birth, the couple decided to have an abortion. But because abortion is illegal in Ireland, the couple said they were “forced” to travel to England to abort their unborn child.
They wrote on Twitter:
“(Despite) what should be a simple procedure that could be carried out 20 minutes from home in a risk free environment, we are being forced to travel to the UK, leaving our child behind and the risks that involves to do the most humane thing possible to a baby that will never survive.
“That’s why we are going to document our experience from start to finish.
“We hope that this may enlighten those who do not want to listen or even allow the people of this country to decide for themselves.”
At 10:15 a.m. (UK time), the couple announced that they had arrived at the Liverpool abortion facility.
“Forms filled in and shown to the waiting room that’s almost full. Deathly quiet only broken by some very familiar accents… Just discovered we should have been sent to a different room, one for women with FFA’s buts there’s no space for us…”
At 2:23 p.m., the couple tweeted that they were headed into the room for the abortion.
The next tweet came at 4:36 p.m. announcing that “all went fine and in recovery.” A few hours later, the couple said they were going home.
“Our journey is almost over, our angel is coming home with us, will be laid to rest where we can watch over them forever.. #itstimetorepeal” they wrote.
Interspersed with the updates, the couple posted messages urging Ireland to repeal its Eighth Amendment, which protects unborn babies’ right to life.
“Planes, trains and automobiles.. how can our government sit idly by and let its people go through this.. #itstimetorepeal,” the couple wrote.
“We are doing this to highlight what many others are doing each and everyday and being ignored,” the couple wrote. “We scrimped and saved to ensure our baby had the best possible care, instead we are spending that money on a trip we never wanted to take.”
The couple claimed their trip to Liverpool was “not by choice,” but that is not true. They had a choice to give their unborn child a chance to live until his or her natural death.
Tragically, many parents are encouraged to abort unborn babies who have medical problems. Often in cases of severe or fatal abnormalities, parents are told that it is more compassionate to abort their suffering child.
Human suffering brings out a deep sense of compassion and urgency to act in most people. But an abortion does not prevent an unborn baby from suffering. Strong scientific evidence suggests that unborn babies can feel pain by 20 weeks, when most fetal abnormalities are detected. However, some researchers say unborn babies can feel pain as early as 8 weeks.
Instead of pushing abortion, society should be offering families in these situations the best medical care, pain management and support available. Every baby who is suffering from medical problems, whether inside or outside of the womb, deserves to be treated with the same dignity, care and respect.