It is difficult to imagine how anyone, much less a doctor, could think 6-year-old Emersyn Baker would have been better off dead.
The central Florida girl, who has a bright smile and a joyful personality, is getting ready to start kindergarten this fall. But because she was diagnosed with Down syndrome before birth, her parents had to fight against discrimination and pressure from their doctor – just so their little girl could live.
The Epoch Times recently interviewed Emersyn’s mother, Courtney, about the family’s journey since their story went viral several years ago.
Back in 2016, Courtney wrote a letter to her doctor and posted it online, imploring him to change his attitude about children with Down syndrome after he repeatedly pressured her to have an abortion. The letter received thousands of responses and resulted in national news attention.
Today, Baker said her daughter exudes joy to everyone she meets; Emersyn loves to give hugs and dance, and she has a special bond with her two older sisters.
“The love she exudes makes her a brilliant spotlight in an ever-darkening world, and it breaks my heart to think of how many people are missing out on what we have,” Courtney Baker told the Epoch Times.
Reflecting back on her pregnancy, Baker said she and her husband, Matt, were in shock when they learned that their daughter had Down syndrome.
“We were devastated, but only because we were ignorant to any facts on Down syndrome,” she said. “We only knew the worst-case scenarios, and … we both felt completely lost.”
When her doctor suggested that they discuss pregnancy “options,” Baker said she immediately told him that they would never abort their daughter.
“I told him that there was no discussion. She was our child and we were going to have her. He seemed surprised and made the appointment for us anyway,” she said. “I’ve known the horrors of abortion since I was in high school and saw a documentary on an abortion where they dismembered the baby. I’ll never get that image out of my mind.”
But the doctor would not take “no” for an answer.
Here’s more from the report:
Six weeks later, the couple visited a specialist to check their daughter’s progress. The doctor insisted that they should give abortion a thought, giving them a dozen reasons so as to state his case.
“At that point, we had named her. I told him her name is Emersyn, and we are keeping her. He questioned us again and in future appointments became almost like a bully,” Baker told The Epoch Times.
The couple expressed that the doctor seemed to enjoy finding things wrong with their baby. “Our last appointment he told us she had clubbed feet and he giggled. Matt and I left the office knowing we wouldn’t go back,” she said.
Baker said their Christian faith kept them strong for their daughter. Later, she said her compassion for other women and babies in similar circumstances prompted her to write the letter to her doctor.
“I wrote the letter to my doctor so that he would see the truth and prayerfully change his perspective. I wanted my letter to change how he treated future mothers who receive a Down syndrome diagnosis for their baby,” she told the Epoch Times. “Doctors wield so much power. He needed to know the facts about Down syndrome if he was going to hold their lives in his hands.”
The Bakers are not alone. Parents frequently report feeling pressured to abort their unborn babies after a disability diagnosis. One mom recently told the BBC that she was pressured to abort her unborn daughter 15 times, including right up to the moment of her baby’s birth. Another mother from Brooklyn, New York said doctors tried to convince her to abort her unborn son for weeks before they took no for an answer.
Tragically, too many others fall sway to this discriminatory thinking. Research suggests up to 93 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome in the U.S. are aborted. Recent reports in The Atlantic and CBS News found that nearly 100 percent of unborn babies who test positive for Down syndrome are aborted in Iceland, 95 percent in Denmark and 90 percent in England.
Baker said she hopes their story will help people understand the value of every human life.
“I want to get to a place in society where we don’t have to fight so hard to show that people with Down syndrome are just that—people,” she said. “And just like every other human being, they deserve life and to be treated with the same love and respect that we give anyone else.”