Kirsten Hasler understands the agony of a poor prenatal diagnosis.
Hearing that an unborn baby may be unhealthy or, worse, dying is devastating to any parent.
But an unborn baby’s poor health is not a justification for abortion, Hasler wrote in a column at The Federalist this week.
About three years ago, Hasler said she and her husband were anxiously awaiting their first ultrasound to see their unborn baby boy. At seven weeks of pregnancy, they “got to see on the screen our little baby safely growing inside my body.”
During that appointment, Hasler said the doctor and nurses gave her the typical instructions for a healthy pregnancy, including prenatal vitamins, extra calories and rest. She said they also gave her a large packet of information about prenatal testing to determine if their unborn baby may have health problems.
Hasler and her husband knew they would choose life for their baby boy no matter what, but they decided to go ahead with the prenatal testing just in case they needed to prepare for a child with disabilities.
A few weeks later, she wrote:
… we headed to ultrasound room, where the tech gently moved the probe over my abdomen to do the nuchal translucency test. We got to see our baby’s profile. All of a sudden, the room got silent and the tech stopped talking.
Next thing we knew, a doctor rushed into our room with another nurse. “Your baby’s nuchal measurement was a little large and there are pockets of fluid all over the baby’s different body cavities, so we have to do the blood work portion of the genetic test,” came the explanation.
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The Haslers were told that their unborn baby may have heart defects or Down syndrome. They were devastated.
“I wept that night in my car before a Christmas party,” she remembered. “It seemed ironic to be celebrating the greatest life given to humanity while also mourning for the life given to my husband and me. I felt selfish and ashamed.”
She said they put their son’s life in God’s hands and reminded themselves that his life was valuable, no matter what.
Weeks went by and more testing was done. By 20 weeks, all the tests had come back clear – nothing was wrong with their son. Today, Hasler said he is a healthy toddler.
But when she reads stories of women “shouting” their abortions and claiming they aborted their disabled children to keep them from suffering, Hasler said she thinks back to her own experience.
“I empathize with these women because I know what it feels like to have a doctor tell you your child could die in utero or live a hard life,” she said. “But it doesn’t justify abortion as a necessary evil. These preborn babies and those who survive a botched abortion deserve a shot at life, no matter what their health outcome may be.”
Discrimination against people with disabilities is widely condemned when the person is outside the womb. However, the situation often is reversed when an unborn baby is diagnosed with a disability. Abortions are typically offered – sometimes even encouraged – and parents sometimes are cruelly criticized for choosing life for a child with disabilities. This eugenic abortion trend has drawn the attention of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and caused discomfort even among people who identify as pro-choice on abortion.
Many families like Hasler’s do choose life for their unborn babies, recognizing that healthy or sick, every baby deserves a right to life. And they share their stories publicly to provide hope and encouragement to other families going through similar struggles.