Tuesday, September 6th, 2011
A recent headline-maker: A Florida couple are suing an obstetrician and two ultrasound clinics for not warning them that their son would be born with just one leg and no arms. The defense is saying Ana Mejia signed forms that indicated she understood an ultrasound—she had seven during her pregnancy—is not a guarantee of a “normal” baby. Her son, Bryan, is now almost three years old. “He sees kids running and playing. He looks like he wants to do the same, but he just can’t,” she said during the trial, expected to wrap up this week. Had she known about her son’s disabilities, she proclaimed, “I would have had an abortion.”
It’s a question that can make your heart and head ache: If you had a choice, and your beliefs permitted abortion, would you have chosen to have a child with special needs? That’s what went through my mind when I read that story.
Knowing my child, a beautiful boy with cerebral palsy whose disabilities are a normal part of his life and ours, I would answer “Of course I would have chosen to have Max.” And yet, I am not completely sure of what my answer would have been back then. The fear of the unknown might have consumed me. Having a child with disabilities can seem like a terrible fate…until you have a child with special needs.
My hindsight is clouded by my love for my son. He has changed my perspective, my understanding, my soul. I am grateful for him, and the happiness he brings me. I would not be terrified to have another kid with special needs—quite the opposite. I understand why people choose to adopt kids with special needs, something my husband and I have discussed.
It is now public record that the mother in this trial would have aborted her son. Most likely, she admitted it because she thought it could help sway the jury and win the case, along with money the boy needs for his future care. The judge did not allow the defense attorney to ask Ana Mejia how she could say she would have aborted a child who she loves, given that she was talking about what she would have done before she had him. When he asked her, “Does his life have value?” she responded, “Yes, a lot of value. Great value.”
What are your thoughts on the case? Is this a choice you’ve ever thought about?
9/9 UPDATE: A jury has awarded the mom $4.5 million; they found her obstetrician and ultrasound technicians at fault for failing to tell her about her son’s disabilities.
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