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‘Everything they said turned out wrong’: mother of 8 recounts pressure to abort disabled daughter
LifeSiteNews ^ | 9/12/11 | LifeSiteNews

Posted on 09/12/2011 4:09:07 PM PDT by wagglebee

September 12, 2011 (rtl.org) - Pregnancy was a natural and normal part of life for Bernadette and her husband Phil. After having seven children, the Grandville, Michigan couple thought their family was complete, but the couple received a surprise when they found out they were expecting their eighth child, Hannah.

Bernadette and Phil with their daughter Hannah

Though the pregnancy was unexpected, Bernadette and Phil were happy to be blessed with another child. But during the first ultrasound, the routine of another otherwise uneventful pregnancy was replaced with anxiety after the surprised sonographer left the room to consult with a doctor.

“What I see is not good,” the doctor told the Smith’s after looking at the screen.

Bernadette said the doctor needed her to make an appointment with a specialist to see what the problem was, but he didn’t give them any details. While parents are not prepared to hear a troubling diagnosis for their child, Bernadette and Phil were even more unprepared for how differently this pregnancy would be treated than the first seven.

The building that housed the specialist was the first sign of trouble in Bernadette’s eyes. She said she clearly remembers how obscure the office building looked as they walked in, and said she felt very unsettled from the beginning.

“It didn’t feel right, that’s the only way I can express it,” she said.

After a long series of questions probing their health, eating habits and family history, the Smith’s finally received a diagnosis for Hannah: Trisomy 18. The genetic disorder, also known as Edward’s Syndrome, is caused by an extra copy of a chromosome in a person’s DNA. The disorder can cause several types of birth defects, and according to the National Institutes of Health, only half of unborn babies diagnosed survive the birth process, and those who do survive have an extremely poor prognosis.

Bernadette with Hannah.

Bernadette said the specialist told her that Hannah had a grim outlook and would either die during the pregnancy or would die shortly after birth. The specialist told the couple bluntly that they had a “choice” to make. Bernadette said that though the specialist didn’t mention it, everyone in the room knew that “choice” meant abortion. Phil said very clearly that they would not abort their child, but that was not good enough for the specialist.

“Then the specialist said to just me, ignoring Phil, ‘You have a choice to make,’” Bernadette said.

Fortunately for Hannah, Bernadette and Phil both strongly believed in the right to life for all unborn children. Being firm in their convictions didn’t make it any easier, however, when the specialist continued to badger them about making a “choice.” Bernadette said the doctor told her that with seven children who needed her it would be wrong for her to be spending time in the hospital dealing with a miscarriage.

“Fear tried to grip me, but I did not receive those words,” she said. “I heard a voice say ‘you can choose to fight.’”

Bernadette said she continued to feel embattled by medical professionals throughout and after the pregnancy. She said even her obstetrician seemed like he didn’t want to deal with the situation, and had to be convinced to carry on as Hannah’s doctor. Bernadette developed a constant refrain, “she will live,” to counter all of the negativity.

“These were dark, dark trying times for me,” Bernadette said.

Despite the prognosis and pessimism, Hannah was born on June 19, 2007. Doctors had said Hannah would likely die before birth, but she was born a week late during a caesarean section. Hannah wasn’t breathing at first, but Berndatte’s faith that Hannah would live continued.

The Smith’s experience with medical professionals wasn’t completely sour. As Hannah was lying in intensive care, the hospital was very reluctant to let them take her home. Fortunately, Bernadette was able to befriend some nurses and even led Bible studies with them while recovering in the hospital from the birth. One nurse in particular promised Bernadette she would help her bring Hannah home. She also received support from her own doctor after Hannah was born.

“Our family doctor was good through it all, he was the encourager,” she said.

Years after the birth, Bernadette ran into one of her former nurses. She said the nurse was very tender, thinking all the predictions of Hannah’s fate had come true, but was shocked to discover how it turned out. Now, four years later, Hannah is a joy and constantly laughing, Bernadette said. Hannah has had several problems, including a hole in her heart that eventually healed and difficulty walking and talking on her own, but she’s a smart little girl who is most definitely alive.

“Everything they said turned out wrong,” she said. “What if I had an abortion?”

Bernadette said she thinks the doctors who were being pessimistic throughout the pregnancy thought they were trying to help. She said they refused to believe that Hannah had any hope, and thought a child with disabilities was too much for her family to handle despite their faith that God would see them and Hannah through.

“They were not happy with me because I didn’t do what they wanted me to do,” she said. “They thought I was in denial.”

Bernadette is emphatic in her desire to help others facing crisis pregnancies, and is working on a book to tell her full story. She said the most important thing for people facing a troubling prenatal diagnosis is to not listen to those preaching doom, and to never give up hope or faith in God.

“Your baby can make it, your baby can live,” she said. “Do not give this baby over to death.”

There is hope and help for women and families facing an untimely pregnancy or difficult diagnosis. For a list of pregnancy support services, call 1-800-57-WOMAN to be connected to a local center or click here for an online listing.

Reprinted with permission from Right to Life of Michigan.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: abortion; moralabsolutes; prolife

1 posted on 09/12/2011 4:09:14 PM PDT by wagglebee
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To: cgk; Coleus; cpforlife.org; narses; Salvation; 8mmMauser
Pro-Life Ping
2 posted on 09/12/2011 4:10:17 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: 185JHP; 230FMJ; AKA Elena; Albion Wilde; Aleighanne; Alexander Rubin; Amos the Prophet; ...
Moral Absolutes Ping!

Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.

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3 posted on 09/12/2011 4:11:18 PM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: wagglebee

God bless this family. The world has another angel, if only it (the world) has the courage to admit it and accept it. In any event, if the world doesn’t admit it and accept it, God and that family do. And so do I.


4 posted on 09/12/2011 4:19:58 PM PDT by ought-six ( Multiculturalism is national suicide, and political correctness is the cyanide capsule.)
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To: wagglebee
Lovely parents, lovely child. So sad the Death Culture is so rampant in the Medical community. I guess they are just preparing us for Obamacare. I foresee a time when forced abortions are the norm as the State won't want to waste valuable Healthcare resources on disabled children. Lord forgive us for the bad choices we make. Especially in November 2008.
5 posted on 09/12/2011 4:20:48 PM PDT by originalbuckeye
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To: wagglebee

In 1986 I went for a free pregnancy test at planned parenthood in altamonte springs fla. I was 30 yrs old with a good job. They were relentless in tring to get me to choose an abortion (before the test was done). After flipping out on them (angry) they finally did the test. Said I was not pregnant. (i was). In 1990 my dr said I had cmv antibodies in my blood and I should abort. I didn’t. Today Amanda is 24. Christopher is 30. Always go with your heart and faith. They treat abortion as if you are getting a tooth pulled instead of sucking a life from your womb.


6 posted on 09/12/2011 4:24:35 PM PDT by Donnafrflorida (Thru HIM all things are possible.)
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To: wagglebee

In 1986 I went for a free pregnancy test at planned parenthood in altamonte springs fla. I was 30 yrs old with a good job. They were relentless in tring to get me to choose an abortion (before the test was done). After flipping out on them (angry) they finally did the test. Said I was not pregnant. (i was). In 1990 my dr said I had cmv antibodies in my blood and I should abort. I didn’t. Today Amanda is 24. Christopher is 30. Always go with your heart and faith. They treat abortion as if you are getting a tooth pulled instead of sucking a life from your womb.


7 posted on 09/12/2011 4:24:53 PM PDT by Donnafrflorida (Thru HIM all things are possible.)
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To: Donnafrflorida

Correction. Christopher is 20. Typo.


8 posted on 09/12/2011 4:28:41 PM PDT by Donnafrflorida (Thru HIM all things are possible.)
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To: wagglebee
‘Everything they said turned out wrong’

Translation: ‘Everything they said turned out to be a lie’


9 posted on 09/12/2011 4:28:41 PM PDT by FormerACLUmember
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To: Donnafrflorida

Correction. Christopher is 20. Typo.


10 posted on 09/12/2011 4:28:56 PM PDT by Donnafrflorida (Thru HIM all things are possible.)
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To: wagglebee

My youngest son was born with only one kidney and with severe hydronephrosis in the other.

This condition was known early in the pregnancy.

Half way into the pregnancy, my wife’s doctor asked if we were going to abort the child. She said it in a manner that was so casual, like it was something that we were supposed to do, that I had to do all that I could to control my reaction. I responded, “there is no way that we would even consider such a thing”

He is now nine years old. The growth in his one kidney has outpaced his weight gain and has upgraded from “severe” to “moderate” hydronephrosis.

He is, by anyone’s standards, a normal nine year old boy. And I couldn’t imagine life without him.


11 posted on 09/12/2011 4:30:18 PM PDT by kidd (S&P gives Obama an 'AA+'...Obama's only published grade)
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To: wagglebee
My wife and I had a "surprise" also.

She was 37 and we just learned she was pregnant for the sixth time. An eight year lapse since the last birth.

We experienced the same type of pressure to check and do an amniotic fluid check for DNA abnormalities. A procedure not without risk

As a matter of fact our doctor told us he would not be our doctor unless we did one......bye bye doc.

We found a new one and after the first ultrasound they found some abnormalities.

She had "turner syndrome" a genetic issue.

God strengthened us and reassured us that ALL things are in his hands....

Twenty seven years later she is the most loving beautiful caring human being on the planet.

I simply cannot imagine aborting her because she wasn't perfect...that would be such an horrendous evil I simply cannot fathom it

12 posted on 09/12/2011 4:30:38 PM PDT by Popman (Obama is God's curse upon the land....)
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To: wagglebee

13 posted on 09/12/2011 4:34:59 PM PDT by Popman (Obama is God's curse upon the land....)
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To: wagglebee

There are such a godly couple. God has and will continue to bless them mightily. God bless little Hannah.


14 posted on 09/12/2011 4:37:50 PM PDT by rawhide
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To: Popman

Abortion is evil, every time.


15 posted on 09/12/2011 4:42:15 PM PDT by Louis Foxwell (O assumes the trappings of the presidency, not its mantle. He is not presidential.)
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To: Popman

People act like a ‘defective’ human being is worthless. “They’re going to die young anyway. May as well save everybody the trouble.”

A couple of years ago we took in a stray kitten. He was adorable and so filled with personality and sweetness. His hips and spine were deformed. He was severely cross-eyed and had another deformity of the bottom lip that made it impossible to completely close his mouth.

We loved the heck out of that little guy. When he died, about a year later, my kids were heartbroken. I told them to be grateful for the time that we had with him. Be glad that we were able to give him a good life, even though it was short. That little guy never knew a moment of fear or hunger. He’d lay in our arms for hours every night and sleep cuddled up while we rocked him. Just a ball of furry purr.

Now why can’t we have that attitude toward our babies? Toward our fellow human beings? What’s wrong with just loving the heck out of someone and giving them the best life that *they* can have - even if it’s shorter or not the ‘quality’ that the average person enjoys?

My son is a T1 diabetic and I know that there are people who believe he should never have been born. He’s too expensive. Odds are, he’s going to die younger than average.

But I could be in a car crash tomorrow and my life could be cut short. There are no guarantees and that’s what people are looking for.

Caring for our disabled elevates *US*.

But society see it as an inconvenience.

“Burdened by a baby” indeed...


16 posted on 09/12/2011 5:27:40 PM PDT by Marie (I agree with everything that Rick Perry is saying. I just wish that *he* did. (NO to Bush II))
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To: wagglebee
Frankly, if you want medical professionals to stop behaving like this, you can outlaw "wrongful life" lawsuits.

I'm out of patience with the doctor-bashing at LifeSites.

If you don't like the medical personnel, STAY HOME.

17 posted on 09/12/2011 5:48:40 PM PDT by Mamzelle
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To: wagglebee
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
18 posted on 09/12/2011 6:15:32 PM PDT by peggybac
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To: wagglebee
After a long series of questions probing their health, eating habits and family history, the Smith’s finally received a diagnosis for Hannah: Trisomy 18. The genetic disorder, also known as Edward’s Syndrome, is caused by an extra copy of a chromosome in a person’s DNA.

Interesting that they could diagnose a genetic disorder from a single sonogram, without any actual DNA testing.

Interesting as in "sounds like fraud."

19 posted on 09/12/2011 6:39:43 PM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Palin is coming, and the Tea Party is coming with her.)
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To: wagglebee

I know a lady online who has a grand daughter with this.She is 8yo now and the last year she’s had a really rough time.Unfortunately they seldom live beyond 10yo so she is one of the older ones.


20 posted on 09/12/2011 8:48:39 PM PDT by chris_bdba
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To: wagglebee

thank you. FYI, way back when, I heard some law students
talking about “wrongful life” which I think means parents
suing MDs when the baby had conditions such that Bernadette,
B”H has overcome. That’s one reason for the pressure. But
only one. There’s real, deadly prejudice against anyone
with a disability, born or not.


21 posted on 09/12/2011 8:58:47 PM PDT by cycjec
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To: Marie

Hostility to a T1 child. Appalling.


22 posted on 09/12/2011 9:01:19 PM PDT by cycjec
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To: cycjec

Now I had a very rough pregnancy with him. I bled a LOT. The placenta would start to bleed, then a blood clot would form between it and the uterine wall. This threatened the attachment and any movement would start the bleeding all over again. When this happened, I’d be hospitalized and catheterized for a couple of weeks so that I could be as still as possible until the clot dissolved and the placenta reattached. (I lost count, but I think it was four or five hospitalizations. It’s all a terrifying blur to me now.)

I was on bed rest for six full months of the pregnancy. The dr. gave me magnesium to stop contractions. When we made it to full-term it was a miracle.

My son was diagnosed with T1 right after he turned ten years old. One of my friends, who knew how rough the pregnancy was sympathetically said, “Oh you poor thing! I’ll bet you wish you’d let nature take it’s course while you were pregnant.”

Uh... no. No, I don’t. Even if he dies at 30, his is a life worth living. He’s a very good person and there are many people who’s lives have been made better for having known him. He’s loving and friendly and the happiest person I’ve ever known. He keeps tools in his car just in case he comes across someone who’s broken down and, at least once a month, he manages to patch someone’s car/truck up enough for them to get to their destination. He’ll bleed for family and strangers alike. Last month, when a fire started in our valley, he was on the front lines with the fire-fighters, desperately trying to save our homes. (Incidentally, that inspired him and he just joined our volunteer fire department. he starts training in three weeks.) I’ve never met anyone who’s more in love with life.

And I think that part of that is because he knows that he probably won’t get the full 80 years.

I’ve always said that, in our family of four, my husband, daughter and I are the meat and potatoes. He’s the spice. We’ve all agreed that our family would be VERY boring without him as a part of it.

Sometimes it’s the shorter life that shines the brightest.


Sorry to go off, but I get so mad when our most vulnerable are treated like garbage. So many times, they’re better than the average person.

I believe that we agree to our lives before we’re born. G-d didn’t force us into our situations. And I think that those who intentionally agree to come here crippled, hobbled, slowed down - well, they’re the bravest among us. They’ve agreed to sacrifice to give *US* the opportunity to express compassion.

We should be grateful for their existence and treat them well. With that, our own souls are elevated.


23 posted on 09/13/2011 8:12:29 AM PDT by Marie (I agree with everything that Rick Perry is saying. I just wish that *he* did. (NO to Bush II))
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To: All
Pinged from Terri Dailies


24 posted on 09/18/2011 10:44:07 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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