Peter Baklinski

‘Choosing Joy’: Baby Abby was only given a ‘slim chance’ of survival, but abortion wasn’t an option

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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BALTIMORE, Maryland, February 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Julie Leach could not shake off that uneasy feeling. She and her husband Matt had witnessed the number of pictures the sonographer had taken of their 20-week-old baby. Now Julie felt that something must surely be wrong. Matt tried to reassure his wife that the baby was probably in a weird position and that it had been difficult for the doctor to get the right picture.

But Julie’s intuition was right.

A call from the doctor’s office the next day revealed that the baby’s jaw was measuring too small. A level two sonogram confirmed that the baby had micrognathia, a condition where the jaw is not in proportion to the rest of the head and causes the infant to have problems with breathing and eating.

After the sonogram, the doctor mentioned the option of abortion, but Matt and Julie made it clear that this was not an option for them or their baby.

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

Matt and Julie remember receiving the baby’s diagnosis as a “tough piece of information” but they were convicted that no human life is in vain and that they would love their baby for the “beautiful and amazing spirit” that they were certain she would possess. The parents were delighted to discover that they were having a girl.

“Naturally, this is not what we would want for our daughter. Who would? However, we know that there is a wonderful plan already set for her life and it’s our job to support her and help her to fulfill that plan.”

They named their unborn daughter Abby, which means “God is joy.”

At 29-weeks Julie began experiencing preterm labor. Because little Abby could not swallow, excess amniotic fluid had accumulated in Julie’s amniotic sac and triggered labor. Julie was ordered to a specialist hospital, two hours away from her husband and young son Caleb, where she was confined to bed rest and closely monitored for the next five weeks. During this time, Julie had two amnioreductions where doctors syphoned liters of amniotic fluid to keep her body from going into labor.

The day for labor finally arrived. Julie had made it to 34 weeks. Doctors from the NICU told Julie to wait to push until everything was set up to help Abby once she had made her grand entrance. A doctor broke Julie’s waters just after midnight, giving her permission to push.

After three more pushes, the little girl was born. Matt remembers that Abby shot out so quickly, what he jokingly calls “rocket launcher style,” that the doctor barely managed to catch her.

Abby Elizabeth Joy was born October 22, 2010. She weighed 4 lbs, and was 17 inches long. “I must say, delivering a 4 lb. baby is much easier than a full-term baby! I felt pretty darn good,” remembers Julie.

Julie says it was surreal to see her little Abby for the first time in the NICU, mixed up in a tangle of wires and tubes. “The foot wrapped in gauze is the same foot that kicked me and stepped on my bladder. The tiny hands curled up next to her mouth were in the same position they were during so many of the sonograms. The hair that we saw floating in the amniotic fluid, the same hair that was admired by so many sonographers, is every bit as long and full as everyone said.”

Later that morning, doctors told Matt and Julie that their daughter had Cerebrocostomandibular Syndrome, a rare syndrome that affects the brain, ribs, and jaw. Julie remembers that it looked as if someone had “taken a hammer” to her daughters ribs.

The doctors gave Abby a very “slim chance” of leaving the NICU alive. “They gave us lots of statistics that showed us the odds were stacked against her. They pointed out every little physical imperfection on her body, from her ears, to the bridge of her nose, to her fingers. They told us that she would never sit up, much less walk.”

The parents were asked what should be done if Abby went into cardiac arrest.

“I tearfully answered that we wanted them to do whatever they could,” said Julie.

The doctor’s response of “Oh… really?” deeply saddened the parents.

“The doctor who was supposed to be fighting for her life obviously felt that her life had little value. We were told that if she survived, she would be little more than a vegetable. While this is certainly not news that parents want to hear, we knew that God had a plan for her life and that we would love her just the way she was.”

Abby spent the first five days of her life struggling to breathe until she had an emergency tracheostomy after a failed intubation. Matt and Julie constantly prayed over their little daughter and sang to her over and over again Chris Tomlin’s song “Our God.”

Matt and Julie felt that the words of the song spoke directly to their situation.

“Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.”

Weeks went by and Abby’s breathing continued to improve. Finally, after three months, Abby was allowed to go home.

“It was one of the happiest days of our lives and a huge answer to prayer,” said Julie.

“Since we’ve been home, we have learned a ton about the ‘joys’ of home nursing, medical red tape, federal healthcare, and anatomy. We’ve had our share of unplanned hospital stays and even one helicopter ride where we very nearly lost our girl.”

The parents credit their daughter’s outcome to the power of God. Not only has Abby’s crooked and hunched spine completely straightened out, but her ribs have begun calcifying. The gaps close to her sternum have inexplicably closed up. Specialists have told the parents that she will not need to have any rib surgeries to close the remaining gaps.

Now at 16 months, young Abby still makes use of a ventilator to help her breathe at night. Not only is she crawling, but she has learned how to walk with the aid of a push-walker.

“This has been quite a journey,” the parents say, “but we are so thankful to God for giving Abby a fighting spirit. That spunkiness has helped her to make it this far and has been such an encouragement to us.”

“We have been amazed again and again by God’s grace and faithfulness to us. He has provided in ways we never could have imagined, and we know that He has chosen us to be Abby’s parents. It is not our job to question why He gave her this condition. No, our job is to love Abby and raise her to love God.”

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

 


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Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent

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Abortion group targets pro-life doctors, nurses with new website: New Zealand

Michelle Kaufman, New Zealand Correspondent
By Michelle Kaufman

Pro-life health practitioners and crisis pregnancy centres in New Zealand are the target of a new website designed to intimidate those who choose not to refer for abortion or prescribe contraception.

The website, My Decision, is created by the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand (ALRANZ). 

The site lists health practitioners and crisis pregnancy centres which they believe women should avoid.  The incomplete list includes the names of individuals or organisations, the region and town, and whether they are a doctor, nurse or other provider. 

Women are asked to submit their stories of “hostile or unhelpful health professionals.”  The stories are non-identifying and can be edited for length or clarity.  At the time of writing only two stories had been posted.

In an earlier blog post, ALRANZ mentioned that the new website, which was still under construction at the time, is “aimed at shining the light on ‘conscientious objectors’… who deny people the reproductive healthcare they want or need.”

Right to Life NZ says they believe the site is “denigrating the good name and reputations of health professionals who believe that abortion is a harmful choice.”

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

Under New Zealand law, health practitioners can object to providing reproductive health services according to their conscience.  However, there is one caveat – they “must inform the person who requests the service that he or she can obtain the service from another health practitioner or from a family planning clinic.”

 “Sonscientious objection is a fundamental right and one that must be preserved if we are to continue to live in a free and civil society,” said Chris O’Brien, Vice President of Right to Life NZ. “We risk tyranny if this right is taken away.”

“There are very good doctors that appear on that website” said Dame Colleen Bayer, whose Dunedin Family Life Crisis Pregnancy Centre is also named.  “These doctors speak truthfully and have real care and concern for their patients.  Women do themselves a disservice to discount them based on this information.”

The resource section on the My Decision website links to ALRANZ, Family Planning (an affiliate of International Planned Parenthood Federation and an abortion provider), and the website Abortion Services in New Zealand. 

The Abortion Services website is sponsored by ISTAR Ltd, a registered Charitable Trust which is the sole importer of mifepristone into New Zealand.  ISTAR also provides Manual Vacuum Aspiration equipment for early surgical abortions.

ALRANZ, was instrumental in the writing of the Greens abortion policy, which was unveiled earlier this year.  That policy aims to take abortion out of the Crimes Act making it more accessible.  The policy also targets health professionals who may conscientiously object to ensure they refer patients on to a “neutral practitioner”.

More information about freedom of conscience in healthcare 


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The government is proposing allowing the killing of pre-born babies suspected of being disabled and those conceived through rape or incest.
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

Northern Ireland considers allowing killing disabled unborn babies: pro-lifers condemn

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

Northern Ireland’s leading pro-life group, Precious Life, has condemned this week's announcement by Justice Minister David Ford that a consultation on changing the abortion law will be "ready by autumn." The government is considering allowing the killing of pre-born babies suspected of being disabled and those conceived through rape or incest.

“Abortion is a serious criminal offence in Northern Ireland,” said the director of Precious Life, Bernadette Smyth. “The law here protects unborn babies, and David Ford as Minister for Justice must ensure that all children are legally protected."

Last December, Ford revealed he would be undertaking a consultation to consider changes to the law after he heard the stories of two women, who complained that they had not been allowed to abort their babies who had been diagnosed with anencephaly. Instead, they said, they had traveled to Britain for abortions.

Abortion was refused under Northern Ireland’s laws because the diagnosis of anencephaly for the child poses no medical threat to the mother.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

On Monday Ford told the BBC that the Department of Justice would bring forward its consultation paper on changing Northern Ireland's abortion laws by the fall.

However, Smyth warned that “the core ethical principle which must underpin this discussion is that every child deserves the right to life regardless of how short their life may be, and regardless of the circumstances of their conception."

She vowed that Precious Life will launch a public campaign in support of the life of all unborn babies.

“We all feel enormous sympathy for parents in these traumatic and distressing cases," Precious Life stressed in a statement. "But parents in these difficult situations deserve much more than our sympathy – they need a professional support system in place, which will provide them with help, support and resources.

"Precious Life are resolved to work towards a solution that loves and protects both mother and baby. Once again we call on the Health Minister to immediately establish perinatal hospice services for parents who have received a poor or difficult prenatal diagnosis for their baby,” said Smyth.

 

Contact:

Justice Minister David Ford
Department of Justice
Stormont Estate
Belfast, Northern Ireland
BT4 3SG
Phone:(028) 9076 3000
Email: via website (http://www.dojni.gov.uk/contact-us.htm)


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80% of parents who have an unborn child with spina bifida choose abortion. But Chad Judice (pictured with Eli) knows that life is worth it.
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

Abortion? No way. Dad says son with spina bifida is a ‘gift’ to the family.

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

What is the most pro-life, pro-God influence in your life? According to Catholic author and speaker Chad Judice, his five-year old, disabled son has been a tremendous source of happiness and faith for even the hardest of hearts.

In an op-ed published in The New York Post, Judice writes that when he and his wife found out their unborn son Elijah had spina bifida, they were offered the option of abortion. While they chose life, it didn't stop them from fearing the worst for their careers, eldest child, and Eli.

"That evening...Ashley cried as she read to me from the literature we’d been given," writes Judice. "It said 80 percent of parents who receive a spina bifida diagnosis choose abortion."

"And it told us that our son might have learning disabilities and be paralyzed from the waist down, unable to ever walk."

According to WemMD.com, the two most common forms of spina bifida have few, if any effects, on those who have them. However, the most rare and most aggressive form of the disability can result in significant problems for life:

  • Little or no feeling in their legs, feet, or arms, so they may not be able to move those parts of the body.
  • Bladder or bowel problems, such as leaking urine or having a hard time passing stools.
  • Fluid buildup in the brain (hydrocephalus). Even when it is treated, this may cause seizures, learning problems, or vision problems.
  • A curve in their spine, such as scoliosis.

Eli's form of spina bifida was severe, but -- as it turned out -- manageable, writes Judice. Despite surgeries and "medical challenges," he was out of the hospital within thirty days, though seizures and surgeries would continue to challenge the family. At five-and-a-half, he is entering kindergarten, learning to walk with modern technology, and "his intelligence is at or above average, and he's very talkative."

But perhaps the greatest miracle of all, Judice says, is the effect Eli has had on those who are outside of the family. His story has helped "some pregnant mothers...to reject abortion," and "rekindle the dormant faith of some...drawing them into a life with more room for God and family."

One of those rekindled Christians was a man who, after years in prison, prayed for Eli "as he recited The Lord's Prayer." According to Judice, "it was the first time he’d prayed in 30 years."

Since Eli's birth, Judice has written two books about his son and their family. "Waiting for Eli: A Father's Journey from Fear to Faith" was the first, and has received praise from Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. According to Pavone, it is "an inspiring story of faith, hope, love, and the power of prayer."

"The world judges the value of human life by physical perfection, but God sees things differently. To Him, we are perfectly lovable in our imperfection. Uplifting in its reverence for human life in its most fragile stages, WAITING FOR ELI will encourage pro-life activists everywhere, from the most seasoned to the newly initiated."

Also unstinting in praise was the Chair of the Committee for Pro-Life Activities, Archbishop Daniel Cardinal Dinardo, who writes for Judice's website that the book "chronicles [Judice's] spiritual journey from fear of one’s personal limitations to self-abandonment to the divine mercy of God’s providence."

The second book, "Eli's Reach: On the Value of Human Life and the Power of Prayer," received the "Best Book by Small Publisher" award in 2013 by the Catholic Press Association.

"I think of Eli as God’s special gift to my family," Judice wrote in the Post. "And as I share about him, Eli’s story softens hearts and brings people to a greater appreciation of the beauty and sacredness of life."


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