When a doctor hands your child a death sentence, and the family must make a decision about the future, nothing is more personal or traumatic. It is every parent’s nightmare, and increasingly it has become more common.
With all the blessings of testing and technology, comes with it, information that is not always welcome or accurate.
The closest brush I have had with this type of situation was through a close friend. I hadn’t heard from my friend Julie for several months, when she called, I could feel her pain through the line. She told me through tears, how she had just returned from her prenatal appointment. That afternoon the doctor informed Julie that her baby had Trisomy 13, a defect, he said, that would leave the baby so badly deformed he would not survive birth; if he did, he would not live but a few hours longer. He warned that the financial and emotional toll on the family would be devastating. There was obviously only one answer: abort the baby as soon as possible.
Due to the complication of being a few months into the pregnancy, the doctor offered to drive Julie across state lines to have the abortion. The pressure Julie and her husband experienced was intense.
This was not her first pregnancy. The experiences of having a child grow inside of her, then give birth and hold a miracle in her arms and to her breast, made the thought of losing this child unbearable but destroying him, unthinkable.
The couple drew a line in the sand; there would be no abortion. The compromise: there would be no medical intervention if the baby got into trouble during the birth process. After all, he was expected to die.
Another mother chose not to take the doctors advice, Pam Tebow, mother of Tim Tebow, the prize-winning quarterback for the University of Florida. Although, we don’t yet know exactly what his mother was told, we do know, what she was advised–to have an abortion.
This year’s Super Bowl Sunday will air a commercial of Tim’s mother’s story. Although no one has been able to see the ad, abortion advocates have come out in full force to decry the injustice this commercial will do to women’s reproductive rights.
Here’s the thing–Julie’s baby didn’t die. He didn’t even need the doctors to save him. The boy was born healthy. Her right to choose to ignore the doctors advice and give birth preserved Julie’s reproductive rights.
I purpose it’s time to take a stand on what it really means to have the right to choose and stand for real reproductive rights. The right to choose is a right to actually choose in favor of a child’s life.
Julie was told that there are no survivors of Trisomy 13. One would assume that the diagnosis of her son was wrong. Surprisingly, there are hundreds of other cases where the diagnosis was right, and the baby was born. They are wonderful examples of the joy that comes with life–if not only to their parents, to everyone they meet.
Are these children going to follow in Tim Tebow’s shoes? Probably not. But that does not make them any less valuable.
Pam Tebow’s story is a message to every woman being pressured to end a pregnancy that the doctor doesn’t want. It’s a message of hope, strength and courage, far greater than anything we will see played out on the field that day.
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