Woman pressured into aborting baby with down syndrome has regrets

Marie Ideson was 16 weeks pregnant when she found out her baby had Down syndrome. Ideson originally wanted to keep her baby. She recounts hearing the news:

A woman said, “I’m sorry to say your baby has Down.” It was devastating. My first thought was, how will we cope?

I told Allan [her husband] I wanted to keep the baby and he agreed.

But Ideson was about to experience intense pressure to abort. She had hoped that the doctor she was seeing would support the decision to keep the baby. Instead:

… doctors said she could be born needing emergency heart surgery and have bowel and muscle tone problems – and that was if she survived. At no time did anyone suggest we might keep our baby. A termination was presented as the only way forward.

A nurse said not aborting my baby would cause it to suffer, and she’d only become a burden on society if I went ahead. She even said, “99 per cent of women in your situation wouldn’t want the baby.” Having it would be a burden on our other children, too, she said, especially if it was likely to need many operations throughout its life.

Our children were at the hospital with us. I looked at them and thought the medical staff must be right.

She gave in to pressure to abort. She swallowed the tablet that would kill her child:

I felt numb as I swallowed the tablet. I remember saying to Allan, “I just want to keep my baby.” But he just kept saying, “But they must think the baby’s really bad, Marie – it’s for the best.”

It wasn’t until Ideson delivered her stillborn baby girl that she was faced with the horror of what she had done:

She was so small, but otherwise perfect. I started sobbing uncontrollably. What had I done? I realized I’d been bullied into taking that first pill. I felt overwhelmed by anger. I should’ve been sent home to think about all the options. It should’ve been pointed out that having my baby was an option and that, with medical advances, most Down babies go on to live happy lives.

Ideson named her child Lillie and mourned deeply for her. She said:

I was bullied into going ahead with an abortion…I only wish I could turn back the clock. I think of the daughter I never had every day. I’ll always regret it.

Ideson came to resent her husband for encouraging her to abort, and the abortion eventually tore apart their marriage.

I knew he was devastated, too, but I was angry he’d allowed staff to rush me into getting rid of her. The feeling he didn’t support me when I needed him most festered between us.

The final straw came when I was in labor with Reuben [her next baby]. We were at home and the midwives wanted me to go to the hospital, but I told them I couldn’t go back to where I’d terminated Lillie. Allan tried to persuade me to go and, in the end, I had no choice. I felt, again, Allan hadn’t spoken up for me when I was at my most vulnerable. I couldn’t find it in my heart to forgive him.

The marriage did not survive. Ideson says:

My eldest sons are 25 now. When I was pregnant with them, I knew of women who had babies with Down syndrome. Today, I never see mums with Down babies. I can’t believe that everyone who finds out their baby has Down syndrome willingly chooses to abort it. I can’t help feeling that other women must be having abortions they don’t want.

Alison Squire Smith “I was bullied into aborting my baby'” Herald Sun December 4, 2011

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Pro-Choicer: People with “bad genes” shouldn’t have kids

Taslima Nasreen, a pro-abortion feminist, tweeted:

“Men and women who have bad genes with genetic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cancer etc should not produce children. They have no right to make others suffer.”

Another tweet  by Nasreen:

“I love food. I love fish and meat and sweets. But i have to be a vegan in order to reduce the risk of early death. I got bad genes from my parents.”

Cassy Fiano-Chesser “Pro-abortion feminist echoes Planned Parenthood founder: People with ‘bad genes’ shouldn’t reproduceLive Action News June 20, 2019

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She would have had an abortion, but now she is grateful for her baby with down syndrome

Sherrill Rechner found out her son had down syndrome after he was born, and was angry she hadn’t had a chance to abort him:

“The geneticist calls. No, I don’t want to speak to her. I am furious with her, with all the doctors who caused this mess. They signed a paper saying my AFP results were normal. The perinatologist told us it was just his heart that had a problem, and that we didn’t need an amnio done.

You didn’t give me any options. I want to scream. Now you can’t make it better and you can’t make it go away.”

Two months  later she wrote:

“My son is nestled comfortably in my arms. He is watching me as I watch him. I can’t imagine not having him here with me. Tears come at the very thought; my heart feels like it will explode… He will never understand the impact he has made on us. He will only feel comfort and love. He reaches for my face and a tear runs down his finger. These are tears of love for you. I need you to know that, my dear.

The geneticist saved his life – I realize that now. She had eased my fears about my risk factor for down syndrome. She led me to believe an amnio wasn’t necessary. She saved his life. I must let her know how these events have changed me. I may never have known this life, his life.”

Kathryn Lynard Soper Gifts: Mothers Reflect on How Children with down Syndrome Enrich Their Lives (Bethesda, Maryland: Woodbine House, 2007) 179, 180

Thank you.”

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Pregnant mother given little information about down syndrome

Dee Bird was told her baby had Down syndrome and that she only had a 1% chance of surviving until birth. Abortion was suggested, but Bird decided to have her daughter Amellia. She says:

“As long as Amellia is healthy and strong, she was showing me that she was putting up a fight, to beat those odds, then I wasn’t going to take that away from her.”

Bird says doctors gave her very little support when she decided to carry to term:

“The midwife I was talking to, she was able to give me this folder, like a little binder folder… and another pamphlet on two organizations that deal with pregnancy loss and they help out with funerals, and it’s got all the planning, so I had all the information possible if she didn’t make it, but they weren’t even able to refer me to Down Syndrome Victoria. Everything was worst case scenario and I think that was the hardest thing to deal with.”

Australian show Lateline with Barbara Miller,  22 Nov 2016,

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Training manual instructs clinic workers to convince women pregnant with disabled babies to abort

In a book meant to teach abortion workers how to “counsel” women considering abortion, the authors tell the workers to recommend abortion when the baby has a disability

When counselling, the aim of the health professional involved would normally be to support a decision-making process but not to influence it. There has recently been lively debate whether a non-directive approach is possible or even ideal when fetal abnormality has been discovered. By not offering guidance are professionals merely disowning responsibility and choosing not to face the ethical dilemmas they have been instrumental in discovering?

By receiving non-directive counselling the couple are urged to make their own impossible decision at a time when they are grief-stricken and in emotional turmoil. Couples in this kind of situation are often desperate to be advised what to do, and being able to say “the doctor advised us to have a termination” can sometimes be a blessed relief….

Joanna Brien, Ida Fairbairn Pregnancy and Abortion Counseling (London: Routledge, 1996) 130-131

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Mother of baby with down syndrome is asked why she didn’t abort

Tia Marsili has two daughters with down syndrome. With one of them, she learned of the diagnosis in the womb, and chose not to abort. She says:

“My sister looked at me and said, ‘Why didn’t you abort her?’

I said, ‘What? Because we love her, and she’s my baby, and we love her!’ ‘But you knew,’ my sister said. . . . It was pretty shocking. Even people that close to me.”

Fredrick Kunkle “Down Syndrome Families Brought Into Sharp FocusWashington Post September 14, 2008

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Mother of disabled child speaks out against abortion

The mother of a child with Down Syndrome wrote:

“When I hear about people who have aborted such a child [with down syndrome] because they didn’t want him to have to “live a life like that,” I am incredulous. How someone comes to the conclusion that not allowing a child to live at all is somehow better than living as a special needs child is beyond comprehension. Aborting a disabled child removes the option looking at the glass as half empty or half full. Abortion takes the glass and heaves it over the side of a cliff while the pieces shatter on the rocks below. While it may eliminate the disappointment, sorrow and frustration, it also eliminates the hope, joy and pride of accomplishment that a child can bring. What a travesty. What arrogance. What right to have to destroy that little person because he doesn’t measure up to someone’s standard?”

Lori Schneck “A Normal Life” Concerned Women for America, November 23, 2005

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Mother of two children with down syndrome speaks

Ashley Engele is a mom of two whose oldest child has Down syndrome, found out she was pregnant with her third baby, who also had downs. She never considered abortion. Her first child,  Rilynn, is now 4 1/2 years old. She writes:

“Rilynn is just like any other precocious 4-year-old girl. She goes to preschool, loves Trolls, Barbie dolls and her “typical” younger sister. They are best friends, they love each other fiercely, and also have the classic sibling rivalry. We fight over what outfit she’s going to wear, or how she’s going to wear her hair for the day. Most of all, she loves other kids and babies. ….

We know how when we’re having a bad day, one smile from Rilynn can completely turn it around.

We know the extra-squishy hugs that turn our hearts into mush.

We know that when her cute little hands reach out and touch your cheek, you instantly feel better.

We know how she is changing the perception of those with Down syndrome, one person at a time.

If you’ve ever met our daughter, you know she doesn’t lack personality. She can make even the grumpiest or angriest people smile and win their hearts over in an instant.

You see, Down syndrome has shown us a whole new world, a whole new deeper level of love, compassion, and patience.”

After her third child was diagnosed in utero:

“Down syndrome is a beautiful journey we had never planned on, but would never dream of leaving because we know what it’s like. We treasure our experiences at face value, we slow down and enjoy the little moments in life, we celebrate every single milestone (big or small), and most of all, we celebrate life, because our lives are better with Down syndrome in it.”

ASHLEY ENGELE “Woman expecting 2nd baby with Down syndrome opens up about her experience” ABC News Oct 30, 2017

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Doctors pressure mother to abort her child

Monique tells her story:

“My husband and I found out we were expecting our first baby and we were thrilled. The day came for our 20 week scan, but after the ultrasound we were just left to wait.

After several hours of delay, we were finally taken to see a doctor. They said outright – “There are issues with your baby’s head and heart; would you like to terminate the pregnancy?”

Just like that; no warning, no leading up to it, no more information than “issues” just “your baby’s not perfect, do you want to abort them?”

I was in shock, I couldn’t answer; this morning we were coming to find out what we were having and now you want to kill my baby? We didn’t even find out if it was a boy or a girl.

When I could speak again I said “No, we don’t want to do that” and we were given a referral to see a specialist.

When we saw the specialist, he also asked me straight up – “Do you want to terminate the pregnancy?” I answered “No! We told the doctor on Friday we don’t want to. That’s why we’re here.”

He completely ignored my ‘no’: “You can do it easily for the next four weeks so you have to decide before then. It gets a lot harder but don’t worry, we can still do it.” For a third time I said “No. We’ve already decided.”

He ignored me and said, “I can refer you to Brisbane but it will be stressful and expensive so are you sure you don’t want to terminate the pregnancy?”

By this point I was in tears. I sobbed “I want to do everything we can for our baby,” and after ignoring us 3 times, the nasty doctor finally rang the Mater Mothers Hospital in Brisbane.

We were squeezed in for an appointment that evening where we were told that our darling child had a perfect little heart and that we were having a baby girl.

A few weeks later we hit 24 weeks. I was so inexplicably glad now that it was “much harder” to kill my baby. She was loved from the moment I saw those two pink lines and to be asked 4 times in 4 days, with three of those being in a row, if I wanted to terminate my child was the worst thing that had happened to me up to that point in my life.”

Women’s Stories” Abortion Rethink

Visited October 3, 2018

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Woman says why she would abort child with down syndrome

Mary Ann Bailey, saying why she would have an abortion if her baby tested positive for down syndrome:

“Given a choice, I would rather my child did not have a disability. That’s all.”

Mary Ann Bailey “Why I Had Amniocentesis” in E Parens and A Asch (eds.) Prenatal Testing and Disability Rights (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2000) 68

Bailey also says that a child born with down syndrome will have “potentially significant limitations” (66) and that even though families with down syndrome children tend to function well, “life will still be more difficult” for her and her family (70).

Quoted in Chris Kaposy Choosing down Syndrome: Ethics and New Prenatal Testing Technology (Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 2018)

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