A devastated British mother and grandmother recently lost both her daughter and unborn grandchild to cancer and abortion.
Laura Kirwan told the Mirror that her daughter, Charlotte Smith, 23, of Blackpool, England, died unexpectedly of sepsis this spring after overcoming a battle with cancer.
A year earlier, Kirwan’s unborn grandchild also died after Smith’s doctors encouraged her to have an abortion so she could begin cancer treatments, according to the report.
“Charlotte lost her baby and endured all of that treatment for nothing,” Kirwan said. “Now all I have are the good memories and a picture of a grandchild I’ll never have. I feel robbed.”
Tragedy struck the family in late 2016 when Smith was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL). She was 11 weeks pregnant at the time, and doctors encouraged her to abort her unborn baby, saying her own life would be at risk if she did not, the report states.
Smith listened to her doctors and had the abortion. In 2017, she told the news outlet that she believed either she or her baby would die.
“It was either my life or the child’s, and I didn’t want to die,” Smith said. “I had a scan the next day. I wouldn’t go through with the termination if I couldn’t have a scan first. I wanted to see the baby.”
Kirwan still treasures that ultrasound photo of her aborted grandchild.
Smith began cancer treatments immediately after the abortion, and eventually had a stem cell transplant from her brother, the report states. A year went by, and her family thought she was getting better.
Her mother remembered, “She seemed to be making good progress; gaining weight, growing her hair back and looking well.”
Then, Smith’s condition worsened on April 9 of this year.
According to the report:
“Paramedics took her to The Vic [Blackpool Victoria Hospital] and she didn’t want me to travel with her in the ambulance,” Laura said.
“So I changed her bedding, put pajamas and toiletries together to take to the hospital and arrived in the afternoon.
“I felt worried but I didn’t think it could be too serious.”
But when Kirwan arrived, doctors “took me into a room and told me it was serious – there was nothing they could do,” she said.
When she saw Smith, she said she panicked: Her daughter’s face was blue and her skin was cold.
“I must have been in shock because I just couldn’t believe Charlotte was so seriously ill,” she said.
Smith died later that day.
“How she dealt with the treatments and spending time in intensive care, showed what a fighter she was,” she said. “She campaigned for routine blood tests for young people and was also passionate about people joining the bone marrow donor register. It takes two minutes and could save a life.”
Kirwan said her daughter was a fighter, but she and her grandchild still died.
“First the leukaemia robbed me of a grandchild and then sepsis robbed me of my child,” the grieving mother said.
One cannot help but wonder if one or both of their lives could have been saved. Abortion often is encouraged in cancer situations, but a growing body of research suggests pregnant women can safely undergo cancer treatments without harming their unborn babies. In 2012, a collection of stories from The Lancet found pregnant women do not need to have an abortion to get treatment for cancer. Similarly, a 2015 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found chemotherapy does not impair unborn babies’ general development.