BRISBANE, Australia (LifeSiteNews) — The mother of a thriving 11-month-old girl says she’s “a million percent grateful that [she] didn’t listen to the doctors” who encouraged her to abort her preborn baby.
In an interview with Australian parenting website Kidspot, a 39-year-old mom identified only as “Jodie” said she viewed her latest pregnancy as her last chance to have a child after multiple miscarriages and a recently broken relationship.
However, she said her doctors began to encourage her to abort her baby due to alleged disabilities.
“They said because of my age, my past history as a smoker and other statistics that there was a high risk of Down syndrome,” the new mom said, adding that she was “infuriated” when the doctors urged her “to look at abortion.”
Pregnant moms are often encouraged to abort babies based upon diagnosis of Down syndrome. An estimated 60%-90% of babies diagnosed with the disability in the U.S. are killed in the womb, and the practice is common around the world. That’s in spite of the fact that people with Down syndrome overwhelmingly describe themselves as happy, and medical advancements have led to striking increases in the life expectancy of people with the condition.
But a possible Down syndrome diagnosis wasn’t the only issue flagged by doctors who encouraged Jodie to abort her baby.
After an ultrasound at 30 weeks’ gestation, Jodie said doctors told her they “couldn’t see” some of the baby’s body parts, suggesting the little girl could be born with life-altering conditions.
“Among those were a missing septum pellucidum (membrane in the brain), which would cause learning difficulties and seizures, as well as missing optic nerves and no pituitary gland,” Kidspot reported.
“That’s when they said, ‘We think you need to terminate,’” Jodie recounted.
“It was horrendous. I was spiralling. I lost it. I burst into tears. I couldn’t hear anything after that,” she said. She told the outlet she researched what aborting a 30-week-old baby would be like and “just couldn’t do it.”
“I looked up the reality of terminating a child at that gestation, and it destroyed me. I would be induced and give birth to a dead child,” Jodie said.
That realization sparked a decision and she resolved not to follow the advice of the doctors.
“Everything in me said, ‘No, this doesn’t make sense,’” she said. “What they were telling me didn’t feel right.”
Fetal diagnoses are by no means certain, studies show.
Writing for USA Today, board-certified Ob/Gyn Christina Francis pointed out that “about 9% of adverse fetal diagnoses on ultrasounds turn out to be wrong, and that is only among the babies who are given the opportunity to continue living.”
“In some cases, depending on the method, false positives for fetal abnormalities are as high as 50%,” Francis added.
For Jodie, doctors’ predictions about her baby’s health weren’t acceptable.
“I was adamant they were wrong,” she said.
Devoting herself to being as healthy as possible for the duration of the pregnancy, Jodie gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Jasmine, at about 40 weeks’ gestation after 30 hours of labor.
Though jaundiced at birth, Jasmine doesn’t have Down syndrome, isn’t missing any membranes, nerves, or glands, and is now a thriving, happy, and precociously intelligent 11-month-old.
According to Jodie, Jasmine has already begun crawling, is started to toddle, and has even begun reciting “bits of the ABC song.” Her only medical difficulty is an apparent tendency toward spontaneous reflux, which could trigger choking. As a consequence, Jodie keeps her baby close to her at all times.
Despite the challenges, Jodie told Kidspot she’s immensely grateful she chose life for Jasmine — and for herself.
“Before I became pregnant, I was seeing a suicide counsellor, but now I can’t imagine not being here,” she said.
“She’s completely changed my world. I’m a different person and a better version of myself because of her,” Jodie continued. “She’s everything that I’ve ever wanted in life in a tiny little package of perfection.”