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Washington Times: Choosing not to abort babies with disabilities

May 11, 2009

LaHood familyJulia Duin has contributed two great articles about this topic now within the last several months. Here is her latest, out today – Mother’s Day:

Choosing not to abort babies with disabilities

Nancy Mayer-Whittington remembers it as though it were yesterday; the joy of learning she was pregnant followed by the news that her daughter’s first day of life would be her last.

Nearly 15 years later, she still weeps at the memory of how on the afternoon of Nov. 17, 1994, her gray-eyed daughter Angela lived barely 10 minutes, the victim of Trisomy 18, a fatal genetic defect. Pictures of the dark-haired little girl, robed in a white christening gown, are still scattered about her suburban Maryland home.

She was the first woman her doctor knew who had decided to keep her pregnancy. All his other patients in similar situations had aborted.

“I was so happy I did what I did,” she says of her decision to bring Angela to term. “You get to see your child’s birth and death all collapsed in one time frame. What most people want for their kids is for them to go to heaven. You get to complete that journey with them. As a parent, that is unbelievable. Life is about relationship to God. You know that when you literally pass them from your hands to His.”

Mrs. Mayer-Whittington is part of a growing network of mothers and medical professionals who are providing support groups, medical advice and Web sites for pregnant mothers of children with disabilities. She has written a book, “For the Love of Angela,” about her experiences and co-founded a support group, Isaiah’s Promise (www.isaiahs promise.net).

Trish Stone, a mother who lives in Kensington, was given a copy of that book after she was told in her 20th week that one of her twin boys had hydrocephaly. She was encouraged to undergo a “selective reduction,” a procedure causing the child to die in the womb.

“If you continue this pregnancy, you may compromise your healthy son,” doctors told her. Desperate for support, she sought out Isaiah’s Promise. Twins Mark and Patrick were born a year ago.

As for Mark, “We were told he may not see nor hear, but he sees and hears and claps and makes sounds,” Mrs. Stone says. “He plays with toys. We feel he is doing very well with his cognitive and language skills.” continue

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