BRISTOL, UK, May 23, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A young British couple is celebrating the birth of their second daughter, born healthy after surviving a drug-induced abortion her mother was pressured into having for medical reasons.
Baby Amelia Hunt was born May 1 to Shannon Skinner, 20, and her boyfriend Anthony Hunt, 24. She weighed seven pounds, and so far, she seems to be doing well. Her doting elder sister Lacie, just 14 months old, can’t stop kissing her.
“I can’t stop cuddling her — I never want to put her down,” Skinner told the UK’s Daily Mail, as Lacie showered kisses on her newborn sister. “Every time I look at her I think: 'She really shouldn’t be here.' But now that she is, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
It was elder sister Lacie’s brutal entry into the world that caused Skinner to believe an abortion was her only option when her contraception failed just four months after Lacie’s birth.
In giving birth to Lacie – who was also the result of a contraceptive failure – Skinner suffered a third-degree tear and ruptures to some of her internal organs, requiring major surgery.
She was so traumatized by the experience that she asked to be sterilized, but doctors told her no, saying that at 17, she was too young to make such a permanent decision. Still, they warned her that becoming pregnant again too soon could cause serious damage to her health.
“When I found out I was pregnant with Amelia, my first instinct was to keep her, but I kept thinking of Lacie and how unfair it would be on her if anything happened to me and she was left alone or I couldn’t look after her,” Skinner told the Daily Mail.
Skinner was also concerned about bringing another child into her troubled union with Hunt. Skinner was suffering from severe post-partum depression, and the stress had taken its toll on the couple’s four-year relationship. Hunt moved out of their apartment just two weeks before Skinner’s pregnancy test came back positive.
When she broke the news, Hunt replied, “You can’t be [pregnant]! We were taking precautions.”
Fearing for Skinner’s health, the couple made plans at a Marie Stopes abortion center for her to undergo a drug-induced abortion using RU-486 – a two-drug cocktail consisting of one pill to kill the baby, and another to force her womb to expel it.
In the waiting room, though, they almost backed out. Skinner was in tears, and Hunt told her she didn’t have to go through with it; he would support her either way.
“I wish now I’d just walked out,” Skinner said. “I was crying my eyes out, but thinking of leaving Lacie motherless made me go through with it.”
She told the Daily Mail she just kept telling herself that at only eight weeks into the pregnancy, it wasn’t really a baby.
She took the pills, bled for two days and thought that would be the end of it. She grieved for her lost baby and tried to move on.
But a few months later, she felt movement in her belly. She took a pregnancy test, which came back positive. When she went to the hospital to confirm the test, an ultrasound revealed she was still pregnant – her daughter had survived the abortion and continued to grow.
A 3D ultrasound of the baby revealed no obvious problems, but Skinner’s doctors warned her that the RU-486 she’d taken could still cause serious health problems for the baby if she survived. They urged her to abort her daughter again, this time surgically.
Skinner refused. “To see your daughter’s face [on the 3D ultrasound] and then be told you can still go through with an abortion…how can you?” she asked. “It didn’t matter to me if she was born healthy or not.”
Skinner spent the rest of the high-risk pregnancy regretting the abortion, terrified that she had damaged her unborn daughter.
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“We knew from the scans that Amelia was physically perfect, with all her fingers and toes, but while the doctor said it was looking good in the womb, he couldn’t guarantee that everything would be fine after the birth. It was a very worrying time,” Skinner said.
Amelia was born healthy, but her doctors say they won’t know for sure whether the abortion caused any lasting damage until she is at least four years old.
“I want to believe that she is perfect, and my gut feeling is that she’s fine, which would be another miracle, but even if there are problems we don’t yet know about, it won’t change our love for her,” Skinner said.
With all the international attention being paid to their story, Skinner and Hunt know it’s unlikely they’ll be able to hide the truth of what they did from Amelia as she gets older, but they hope that she’ll believe them when they tell her how sorry they are.
“What she needs to know is that she is loved and wanted. If we had the chance again we would do everything differently,” Skinner said.
“We call her our miracle baby because we just don’t know how she survived,” said Skinner. “She must have really wanted to be here. Watching her sleep, I can’t bear to think of her not existing. For a long time I felt guilty, but now I just feel relief.”
“I’ll always regret the abortion, but I’ll never regret having Amelia.”