So often, our culture dehumanizes babies with disabilities and claims that killing a child with a disability is the “compassionate” course of action. There is no more powerful response to these deadly lies than the story of individuals living full and beautiful lives with disability.
One such story is that of Michael, a little boy who will likely never walk or talk. He requires a feeding tube and is visually impaired. Despite these daily difficulties, Michael’s family says they can see how fully alive he is and how his quiet life has demonstrated the beauty and dignity of human Life.
Michael’s life began with a rocky road. Born prematurely at 33 weeks, Michael, the youngest of four, struggled with basic functions. When he was only days old, he stopped breathing. His mother, Sarah, explained in a video for Live Action, “He had a very big event. He turned completely blue. There were three nurses sort of working on him and I’m sitting there and seeing this happen right before my eyes. And then I said a prayer, and I said to God… ‘Just let him live. I’ll do anything.’”
Though his mother’s prayer was answered, Michael’s case continued to mystify his care team. Eventually, a brain scan and further testing led to the diagnosis of an extremely rare genetic mutation, identified as 15q13.3. Only 12 known cases are in the world. The prognosis for Michael is not known, but he will likely remain non-verbal, and require a wheelchair and assistance with basic daily activities.
Adjusting to this news was challenging for the family, but they recognized that Michael’s disabilities did not detract from who he is. His mother said, “You have this expectation [your children are]gonna one day leave your house and maybe potentially take care of you one day.” She continued, “When you have a child like Michael, that expectation is gone. You realize that you will be the one taking care of him, but you also realize that’s what God does for us every single day.”
Many people react to the Michael’s story with fear. His father, James, explained, “We hear all the arguments about suffering and fairness and quality of life. And I’ve had people say, ‘Did you have tests done?’ Almost like they’re trying to make an excuse for why we shouldn’t have had the baby.” This perspective misses the point, James says, explaining, “To imply that because their quality of life is different than yours might be, you think they’re not happy and you think that they’re not useful to society, but they are. We were lucky enough for God to give us Michael, because we are Pro-Life.”
Michael’s grandfather Lamar also appears in the video discussing his Pro-Life perspective and gratitude for his grandson’s life. Michael’s grandfather focused his remarks on the unjust laws that allow for the violent destruction of innocent human Life solely because the child may have a disability. “I’m shocked by the countries that are doing this selective abortion with regards to children that may have disabilities.” Referring to countries like the Netherlands in which virtually every child with a disability like Down syndrome is killed through abortion, Lamar lamented, “It’s like they’re almost hunting them down and saying we’re gonna execute you. And there’s this idea of trying to make the perfect human race or the perfect human people.”
Michael’s family is not concerned with perfection but with embracing the gifts Life has given them, one of which is Michael. Michael’s father says Michael’s three older siblings have been changed for the better by the living with their brother and experiencing his full life.
His father explained, “When he laughs, there’s no way that you don’t melt when you hear this kid laugh.” He added, “Michael’s never made a mistake. I’ve made plenty of mistakes. I’ve made plenty of mistakes today, but Michael’s never made a mistake so Michael can’t be considered a mistake. God’s got a plan for Michael and it’s been working out pretty well for him. I couldn’t imagine not giving him a chance to fulfill that plan.”
Vulnerable children like Michael deserve the Right to Life and the full protection of the law. That is why Texas Right to Life is working with the Texas Legislature to pass the Preborn NonDiscrimination Act (PreNDA). This life-saving bill would protect the lives of babies diagnosed with disabilities from late-term and discriminatory abortions. Contact state lawmakers today to urge them to pass this life-saving PreNDA.