This Dad’s Friend Told Him He Should Have Aborted His Son Just Because He Has a Cleft Palate

Opinion   |   Christina Vazquez   |   Oct 26, 2018   |   10:48AM   |   Washington, DC

A father from Dallas, Texas wrote a moving article about his son born with a cleft lip after one of his friends suggested that the child should have been aborted.

Matt Martin wrote a post for Love What Matters about two weeks ago describing his love for his son Cam.

On April 3, his wife, Sara, gave birth to twins Jack and Cam via C-section. After Jack was delivered, the nurses and doctors on-call celebrated. When Cam was delivered, however, the delivery room was silent as the nurses huddled around the child, he wrote. Martin remembered asking them if everything was okay.

“It was a shock. I didn’t know what I was looking at. There was clearly something wrong on his face, but I had never seen something like that before. Nobody said anything. The nurse put him in my arms. He cried and cried, and all I wanted to do was help him. I have never in my life felt so helpless,” Martin said.

Doctors later told Martin and his wife that Cam had a bilateral cleft lip and palate and that he would have to go to the neo-natal intensive care unit because he might not be able to eat, he wrote. Baby Cam was fitted for a NAM mouthpiece, which would cover his palate and stretch things out in preparation for his first surgery. When Cam was four months, the surgery repaired his soft palate and lip.

“We LOVED the moments when the NAM came out and we got to see his huge beautiful smile. It’s crazy how fast you fall in love with them,” Martin said. “We just wanted to stay home with him all day and stare at his face.”

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Two weeks ago, Martin had been messaging some old friends when the subject of conversation got political:

“As with a lot of people these days, politics got brought up. None of us in the group chat have the same views and things unfortunately got heated fairly quickly. The topic of abortion came up, and I won’t get into that, but I did bring up how I think we’re getting into a not so great spot with abortions. For example, due to genetic testing, babies with clefts are being aborted three times more in some countries and even HIGHER in others. The people want a baby, just not that baby. Having a cleft baby of my own, I strongly feel that that isn’t right.

My ‘friend’ said, ‘Come on, of all people, you should get why someone would want to abort a cleft baby.’

That shocked me. Why would he think that? Why would someone think I would agree that babies like my son shouldn’t have the opportunity to live, simply because they’re different? Not long after that statement was made, I spoke my last words to him. BUT, I thought, maybe this could lead to great opportunity to share my son’s story (so far) and hopefully shed some light on clefts. So MAYBE, when a mom and dad go to get a sonogram or get blood work done and find that they’ve got a beautiful cleft baby, they won’t think their world is over. That it’ll just be a little different.”

Baby Cam’s story was featured by the New York Post on Oct. 22, after he underwent surgery to fix his cleft palate.

“He healed fast and has the best freakin’ personality,” Martin said. “That kid loves so hard. Do I wish he didn’t have to go through all of this? Of course. But do I wish we never had him? A million times no. This baby has changed me in so many ways. He really has changed my life.”