Earlier today I was sent a link to a blog of a woman named “Ashley” who is acting as a surrogate mother. She says she is around 20 weeks pregnant with the child of another couple, and recently found out that the child suffers from some abnormalities.

What those abnormalities are Ashley herself did not say, but the person who forwarded the link to me said it was cleft lip and palate – a minor condition that can be surgically remedied after birth.

But now the parents of the child have demanded that Ashley abort the child. In a heartrending post Ashley laments that the parents have decided that the baby she is carrying is not “good enough” and are pressuring her to undergo the trauma of a late-term abortion – from which Ashley wonders if she would recover. She also says that the parents have told her that they will “try again” with another surrogate.

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I immediately e-mailed Ashley offering her any support necessary – knowing that the pro-life movement would go to any lengths to ensure that she is able to bring the child to term. By the time I found her blog, already people were beginning to flood it with comments beseeching her not to be bullied into the abortion, and offering assistance.

I have not yet heard back from Ashley. Late this evening I discovered that her blog had been made private, and I could no longer access it.

After doing some further searches, I found this post from today at BabyCenter from someone claiming to be the “friend” of a surrogate mother whose situation is exactly the same as Ashley’s. It seems safe to assume that, in fact, the surrogate being spoken of is indeed Ashley (We can’t, of course, be 100% sure - but it seems unlikely that there is more than one surrogate mother at 20 weeks with a baby with cleft lip being pressured to abort right now).

If so, then it appears that the baby does suffer simply from cleft lip and palate, although there maybe some other issues as well (potentially with the heart). It also appears that Ashley herself is personally against abortion – which gives some hope that she will not be bullied into the abortion. In fact, her friend (assuming it is her friend) writes, “She will not terminate” (although on her blog Ashley sounded somewhat less certain than that).

However, what is certain is that Ashley is under heavy pressure right now: for while the couple cannot actually force Ashley to go through with the abortion, they can refuse payment, and leave Ashley to deal not only with a significant financial shortfall, but also with the uncertainties, costs and trouble of any potential medical problems that the baby may have.

I have to stress that none of this has been properly verified. All I have is a blog that is now private and a post on Baby Center. I would much rather that the facts were clearer, but certainly at present there is no indication that this is a hoax, and every indication that it is very real.

For now it appears that all we can do is pray for Ashley, which I hope you will all do. And perhaps hope that she discovers this post and realizes that there are many, many people who would be willing to help her, or otherwise gets in touch with people who are able to assist her in her bid to bring the child to term.

Certainly this is not the first time that a surrogate mother has been pressured against her will into aborting a child she is carrying – and it won’t be the last. This case, and others like it, are a grim illustration of what happens when pregnancy and childbirth are reduced to an economic or legal transaction: no matter how good the motives of both parties may be.

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