Doctor Told “Sound of Music” Heroine Maria von Trapp to Abort Her Disabled Baby, She Refused and Baby Was Healthy

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Dec 28, 2021   |   6:28PM   |   Washington, DC

Most people know Maria von Trapp’s early life story because of the musical “The Sound of Music.”

The late Austrian musician and mother inspired millions of people with her joy, her love of children and music and her strong faith in God after she became a wife and mother to a widower and his seven children and later fled Europe to escape the Nazis.

But there are many lesser known parts to von Trapp’s life, including how she refused her doctor’s advice to abort her unborn son while the family was facing numerous struggles.

Aleteia highlighted von Trapp’s pro-life story recently. It is one she shared herself in her book “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers,” published decades ago.

The von Trapps were new to America when Maria was pregnant with her son, Johannes, the youngest of their 10 children. The family also was struggling financially because they recently had lost their fortune in a bank crash in Europe, according to the report.


Then, more bad news came. When Maria visited a doctor complaining of severe back pains, he told her that she needed to abort her baby.

“’Your wife cannot have another child,’ he informed my husband; ‘at least, not until the kidneys are back to normal. They are both badly infected … The child has to be removed, of course, immediately,’” Maria wrote in her book.

A devout Catholic, she said she felt indignant at the doctor’s recommendation to abort her unborn child.

She remembered telling him: “’What do you mean, of course? That is not of course at all. On the contrary, it is absolutely out of the question—we are Catholics, you know.’ Now the doctor seemed seriously worried. ‘The child won’t be born alive; this much I can tell you.’”

However, the von Trapps refused to consider aborting their unborn son. Instead, they began to pray, asking God to heal both Maria and Johannes. When Maria went into labor, the family gathered together to pray the rosary and sing hymns together, she wrote in her book.

“I had to squeeze Georg’s hand very hard, and time seemed to stand still. Then I heard a funny little squeak … At that minute a full chorale downstairs started: ‘Now thank we all our God!’” Maria wrote. “‘Why it’s a boy!’ … The predictions of the doctor proved beautifully wrong, and Johannes promises to be a fine American boy.”

Later, Maria said she learned about Planned Parenthood and the notion of “unwanted children,” and she thought of Johannes’ birth.

“I must say, Johannes had not been exactly planned for that very moment, and as far as being wanted is concerned, I would have gladly said many times, ‘Oh, won’t you please be so kind as to wait for just six months?’” she wrote.

Von Trapp encouraged families to trust in God when they are facing similar struggles.

“If there is any planning to be done, why don’t we let Him do it? Looking back now, I know that He chose the only right moment for Johannes’ arrival,” she wrote.