Kristi Burton Brown

‘At eight months, my doctor said he would ‘absolutely’ abort my disabled son’

Kristi Burton Brown
By Kristi Burton Brown
Image
Image

March 16, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - When you walk into Nicole and Steven’s house, you get the sense that they are parents who thoroughly enjoy their three kids.  You’ll find Steven running down the narrow hallway while all the kids scream in delight, chasing each other and him.  Nicole patiently fixes healthy meals for them while explaining to the youngest that she can’t climb up on the counter to help because the crockpot is just too hot for little hands.  You’ll see Titus, their only son proudly popping wheelies in his special wheelchair while the family cheers.  They are a family who seems to enjoy the little moments; the precious memories that the years have brought.

Entering their house, you’d never guess the ordeal they went through almost four years ago.  Four years ago, Nicole was eight months pregnant with Titus, their second child.  Since she was planning for a home birth, Nicole doesn’t remember exactly why she went in for an ultrasound that fateful—and miraculous—day.

As the routine ultrasound was being performed, Nicole could tell that something was definitely up.  The doctor said nothing, but quickly called in another doctor.  They consulted together while watching the screen and leaving Nicole clueless and helpless.  For some reason, spina bifida popped into Nicole’s mind.  “Is it spina bifida?” she asked.  But the doctor couldn’t tell her anything; he just showed her what he saw on the screen.  And it wasn’t good.  Nicole and Steven were sent to a specialist, immediately.

The specialist had a huge ultrasound screen for Nicole and Steven to stare at.  While they watched their eight-month-old son move his arms and head; while they saw his little heart beat quickly, the specialist diagnosed spina bifida and hydrocephalus, and put it all out there:

He said it was the biggest lesion he had ever seen; that our son would probably never go to the bathroom on his own.  He’d never walk, never talk.  He said this based on a 30 second ultrasound.  He said, ‘I will absolutely perform the abortion for you.’  I could see Titus’ arms and head moving and his heart beating at the time the doctor said this.  He was emphatic that Titus would be basically a vegetable and mentally retarded.  And that it would be unfair to him for me to give birth.

At that moment, Nicole and Steven realized that their role in Titus’ life would be so much more than “parent.”  Their role was now “advocate”, too.  Without a word shared between them, both Nicole and Steven knew they would never accept abortion as an answer—no matter what the truth about Titus was.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Nicole explains:  “From our faith, we believe that every life is precious—a gift from God—whether ‘normal’ or ‘perfect’ or not.”  She also realized that it was divine intervention that the ultrasound had even taken place at all.  A medical professional assured Nicole that, had she gone ahead with the planned home birth, either her or Titus would have certainly died from infection.  “Nothing was left to chance,” Nicole says.  “It was all orchestrated.”

When Titus was born by c-section, Nicole was only allowed to see his face.  She couldn’t touch her son for at least two days, as he was recovering from immediate surgery for the softball-sized lesion on his back.  Though she couldn’t touch him, Nicole refused to leave Titus’ side, even sleeping on the floor of the NICU to be beside him.

Nicole firmly believes that God has defied human knowledge and wisdom through Titus’s life.  Her strong Christian faith leads her to believe that God is not controlled by the predictions of men.  She will confidently tell you that the Lord has given their family everything they need to endure Titus’ difficulties.  Is it hard?  Yes.  Is there pain?  Yes.  But, Titus’ courage and preciousness overwhelms everything else.  He continues to prove the “specialist” wrong:

Every milestone, he has hit either before or right on.  He is very intelligent and able.  Titus doesn’t complain and fuss about why his legs don’t work or about anything else.  He loves to do what little boys do.  He knows his letters, numbers, and shapes—has known them since he was 2 ½.  We wouldn’t have it any other way.  Titus is definitely a huge addition to our family.  This is how God made him—I fully believe this.

Nicole credits two things for helping her get through the shock of Titus’ diagnosis and giving her the strength to give him life:  her strong faith in Christ and the year she spent working at a crisis pregnancy center in California.  There, she grew in her confidence that each baby was indeed a precious individual, deserving of an equal chance at life.  She believes parents often take the words of doctors too far and begin to question, “Can I really handle this?  Is it really fair to my child?”

When I asked Nicole what she would say to other parents facing a similar diagnosis, she said:

I would say that for me, immediately, it was always either the Lord knows me or he doesn’t.  And He either knows I need this or I don’t.  Whatever happens in my life is His will for me at this time.  This means I can move mountains.  If this baby having issues or conditions is His will for me, it means I can get through it.  If you think that someone tells you from a human perspective what you can or can’t handle, you don’t know God as the great Physician.  We shouldn’t try to alter things in our own humanness or do something without knowing all the facts.

Even Nicole’s doctor didn’t have all the facts right.  You can never know all the facts about your unborn child before they’re born.  As Nicole believes, there’s no way you should make a decision to abort a child at all, but certainly not based off an ultrasound or a test.

Off an ultrasound, you cannot know a baby or everything about them or what they’re really like.  There was no way the doctor knew all he said he knew about my son from that screen.  Lots of times, the ultrasounds or tests are wrong anyway:  when the mother says, ‘I don’t care,’ and the baby’s born, and nothing is wrong at all.  How would you feel if someone could show you what your five year old would look like and you could see them face to face—would you be happy you ended their life?

About Titus, Nicole shares,

Right away, his life was a testimony.  He’s so much fun—everyone that meets him loves him.  He’s a really special kid.  And almost everything the doctor said [besides the actual diagnosis of spina bifida and hydrocephalus] is completely wrong.

Nicole believes that more parents should educate themselves because knowledge is power.  Doctors are important, she says, and they have a purpose, but you are the parent.  The more you understand about anything you may have to go through, the more strength you’ll have for an arrow you’d otherwise not be prepared for.  Things have changed so drastically over the years for babies born with spina bifida and other conditions, and they can truly lead almost normal lives.

Of course, normality (whatever that is!) is not the measure of a person’s worth, but it’s true that people have a very wrong perception of what individuals with Down Syndrome, spina bifida, and other “disabilities” can achieve in their lives.

In the end, Nicole says, “I wouldn’t have it any other way….It doesn’t matter what the child is or isn’t—they’re a gift!”

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org

Truth. Delivered daily.

Get FREE pro-life, pro-family news delivered straight to your inbox. 

Select Your Edition:


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received more than $400 million in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

Advertisement
Featured Image
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

,

He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

,

German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook