Would someone kill a child in abortion for no other reason than a correctible birth defect? Sadly, there are people who advocate this inhumane position.
In April twins Jack and Cam were born. Their father, Matt Martin, described the moment for Love What Matters. When Jack was born, Martin says, the nurses cheered, and the room was filled with congratulations. However, when Cam was born just two minutes later the room went silent. Martin says, “Something was different. The doctors were worried. My wife’s doctor leaned over to a nurse and asked her to call the NICU. ‘What’s wrong?’ my wife asked. ‘I don’t know,’ is all I could say.”
After an agonizing wait, Martin and his wife discovered that their second son was born with a bilateral cleft lip and soft palate. The condition prevents babies from breastfeeding and can cause other complications but is typically correctible through surgery. Martin has shared his family’s journey through Cam’s first surgery and beyond raising awareness about this common birth defect. The New York Post featured a heartwarming video about Cam’s progress:
The care of newborns with cleft is difficult and the surgery can seem even more so. Martin writes, “I won’t lie to you, it’s hard. But it’s hard in the sense that you don’t want your baby to have to go through all of this.” Before Cam’s first surgery at four-months-old, the family had grown to know and love his face, and they were fearful of what surgery would entail.
Martin says, “That first day was rough and he was on a lot of pain meds. My wife and I cried…a lot. He was so different. He was in so much pain. What had we done?” The Martins’ experience is not unique; Martin writes about how their nurse assured them that many cleft parents have a similar feeling of anxiety and grief as their children undergo surgery.
The family found support through an organization called Cuddles for Clefts, which sends care packages to cleft babies to help them and their families prepare for surgery. With that support and the support of their medical team, Cam has recovered and is growing and developing. Martin writes, “After he was over the pain, and his personality was coming back, we saw our son. We REALLY saw our son. His huge smile was still there, and he was just as beautiful now.”
Despite this incredible story of love, Martin says he lost a friend who could not see the value of his son’s precious life. In a political discussion with friends, the topic of abortion came up. Martin brought up cases he found particularly unjust. He says, “For example, due to genetic testing, babies with clefts are being aborted three times more in some countries and even HIGHER in others. The people want a baby, just not that baby. Having a cleft baby of my own, I strongly feel that that isn’t right.”
Martin says in response to this, “My ‘friend’ said, ‘Come on, of all people, you should get why someone would want to abort a cleft baby.’”
Martin was stunned. He asks, “Why would he think that? Why would someone think I would agree that babies like my son shouldn’t have the opportunity to live, simply because they’re different?”
The insensitive comment from someone Martin thought was a friend shows how far-reaching anti-Life attitudes toward the most vulnerable are in our society. Instead of seeing Martin’s son as a unique and unrepeatable human being, this supposed friend saw him as a burden and an inconvenience.
The discrimination and thoughtlessness that the Martins faced also reveals the challenges that so many parents face when bringing a child who is different into the world. The loophole allowing for the killing of disabled preborn babies, even up to birth, is gravely unjust. Abortion activists often suggest that killing a child with a potentially severe, life-limiting condition is a best for the child. This is not true, and discriminatory abortions are not limited to these extreme and very rare cases. In many places, babies with any defect or disability, including cleft, can be targeted for death in the womb simply because of their potential disability.
Martin says about his experience with his son, “Do I wish he didn’t have to go through all of this? Of course. But do I wish we never had him? A million times no. This baby has changed me in so many ways. He really has changed my life.” Cam is just one of the many babies around the world born with cleft. Looking through the Instagram account of Cuddles for Clefts shows some of the many other precious lives affected by cleft. The Pro-Life community must affirm the Right to Life of each and every child. Abortion in the case of a disability does not take away the disability; abortion in every case ends a human Life.