Tuesday November 27, 2007

Partial Birth Abortion Ban “Poster Child” Turns Sweet Sixteen

Doctors wanted to abort her at 7 months – gave hopeless prognosis

By Hilary White

Donna Joy Vance and Mother ROGERSVILLE, Tennessee, November 27, 2007 ( – Donna Joy Vance turned sixteen yesterday but if her mother had listened to her doctors, she would have been aborted at the gestational age of seven months. Fortunately for Donna Joy, her mother, Lori Vance, refused to go along.

“We’re celebrating Donna Joy’s 16th birthday,” Lori Vance said. “It’s a special day because it’s a day the doctors and so-called experts way back when said would never come to be.”

In 1991 doctors recommended that Donna Joy be killed by partial birth abortion, because a scan had found five major brain disorders. In the worst of these, most of her brain had formed outside her skull, a condition called Holoprosencephaly, or HPE. They said that Donna would be born completely blind, deaf, with no face, no ability to move limbs, suck or swallow. Despite these dire predictions, Donna Joy has grown to be a pretty, happy and active young girl who suffers only cerebral palsy and peripheral blindness.

Lori Vance told reporters she would have been glad to give birth to Donna Joy, even if she were only to live “for a few minutes-to give her some dignity, wrap her up in a pretty blanket. Say ‘I love you’ and let her go.”

In May, after the US Supreme Court voted 5-4 to uphold the constitutionality of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, Lori said she would have accepted Donna Joy no matter what her medical condition.

“I chose not to go through with the late-term abortion because Donna Joy’s life doesn’t really belong to me, it belongs to God, so it’s only His for the taking,” Lori said at the time. “I wasn’t going to be a part of killing my own child. I knew that she could have awful handicaps, but it didn’t matter to me because I still loved her. She was still my child.” Today Donna Joy is the oldest survivor of this group of brain disorders.

Lori and Donna Joy have campaigned to end partial birth abortion, addressing Congress and appearing in the national media. Donna Joy appeared on programs such as the Rush Limbaugh radio show and the Phil Donahue TV show, becoming a poster child for the partial birth abortion ban cause.

So embarrassing was Donna Joy’s presence to the abortion lobby’s cause during debates, that at the tender age of five she enjoyed the distinction of being thrown out of the Senate chamber by one of the abortion movement’s greatest advocates, Sen. Barbara Boxer from California.

“In the end I think more people heard our story because of what Senator Boxer did than would have if she just would have left us alone,” Lori said.

When the ban was passed, Donna Joy said in a hand written statement, “I am really happy about my law. I am glad my mom did not let me die. It is a good law. It saves babies.”

Donna Joy lives with her family in Rogersville Tennessee, and is a member of her church drama team and choir and participates in the state Special Olympics in which she won a ribbon for bowling.

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