Abortion comes up so frequently as a medical option when an unborn baby has been diagnosed with a disability.
But an abortion does not treat or heal the baby or the mother. It just kills the child because their body does not function the way it should. Thankfully, many parents reject this “option,” including Marie Stockdale and Paul Kipling, of Penrith, Cumbria, England.
According to Derbyshire Live, doctors suggested an abortion after a 20-week ultrasound scan showed problems with their daughter Ava’s brain and esophagus. Later, Ava was diagnosed with a rare brain condition called rhombencephalosynapsis, her mother said.
“Because the condition is so rare, doctors had no idea how severely it would affect her, and I was offered a termination,” Stockdale said. “It was never an option, though. I had to give her a chance to fight.”
In England, abortions are legal for any reason up to 24 weeks; however, the law includes a broad exception that allows abortions up to birth if the unborn baby has health problems. Some parents have expressed shock and horror at being offered third-trimester abortions for children with Down syndrome and even conditions as minor as a cleft lip.
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Like many others, Ava’s parents recognized that their unborn daughter’s life was valuable and refused to end her life.
Ava and her twin sister, Mila, were born in May of 2022, according to the report. Almost immediately after their birth, doctors prepared Ava for emergency surgery to correct the problems with her esophagus.
Her mother remembered: “We had spent the weeks leading up to the birth trying to come to terms with what laid ahead for our daughter after we’d found out about her condition, but nothing could have prepared us for when we saw her tiny body on a ventilator, covered in tubes and wires. It was very tough for us to see her like that.”
The first surgery went well, but as Ava recovered in the hospital, she developed another disorder called tracheomalacia, in which the cartilage in her windpipe malformed and caused breathing difficulties. She underwent a second surgery at five weeks old to fix the problem, the report continues.
After about two months in the hospital, Ava finally grew well enough to go home. Now, the twins are eight months old, and their parents already can see differences in their personalities.
“They’re both little characters, Mila is very chilled out and patient and Ava is really happy and smiley,” their mother said.
Although Ava still uses a feeding tube, her mother said she is improving daily.
“Doctors are monitoring her brain condition but so far, it seems to be mild,” Stockdale said. “Ava went through a lot in the first few weeks of her life so to see her now, getting stronger each day, is wonderful.”