Having My Autistic Daughter Made Me Rethink My Choices

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I used to believe in abortion. I mainly believed in it because of all the loopholes that people throw out there, such as mother’s health and rape or incest. Or the pure hatred that people develop for you when you don’t believe in it. But I got pregnant with my daughter Aubrey and none of that mattered, because she was there and I knew it right away. I could not justify ending her life for any reason. But still, I was unconvinced that abortion should no longer be an option for anyone. To each their own, right?

I got pregnant at the age of 19 when I was attending a four-year university and unmarried, and very wild and lost. Autism is not detectable during pregnancy so people might not understand why that plays such a big role in forming my opinion, but a lot of disabilities are and a lot of parents these days are choosing to end a life because the child would be or will be disabled. The fact that we as a country view people with disabilities as less or as a burden is very concerning to me. I would put money on the idea that if autism was detectable during pregnancy, people would choose to end those future lives as well.

I will not lie, having a special needs child is a major challenge. It is a challenge not only for the parents, the siblings, the grandparents, and friends but also for the individuals who are affected severely by their disability. I will admit that there are days when I wonder how I will get through another meltdown. I won’t deny the fact that I worry about my daughter’s well being and future every single day, and most days every hour. But would I have chosen to end her life if I would have been able to predict all of this? Absolutely not.

I could explain my reasoning by sharing that I am a Christian and believe that abortion is a sin. But I won’t go into all of that right now because even if I had no spiritual belief at all I would still value life. Every life. No matter how small. I truly feel that if we all agree that we are all of equal value abortion wouldn’t be justifiable because a life is a life and as far as I know ending lives is considered unacceptable in our society.

Biology is clear that at the moment of conception unique DNA is created, and this is what creates a human life. We like to debate when a person actually becomes a person based on different ideas such as when they feel pain or when they are visible, but science tells us that a life is created at conception and there is a heart beat soon after. That’s what science tells us, the rest of it is irrelevant because it is based on personal opinions. So bottom line, we are actually discussing ending human lives.

I want to remind us all that if someone decides that their child would not receive proper care or that they are not able or equipped to raise a child, there is this wonderful thing called adoption and I promise you, there are many people who would love that baby. There are so many people wanting to have babies who can’t get pregnant, and would be blessed with the life that others do not wish to have.

I sometimes try to imagine my life without my daughters, without Aubrey specifically but I never get far because the thought of not having her, it makes me feel empty and I know that I would have missed out on the greatest love on earth. Aubrey’s disability does not make her any less human. Every life, and every baby is just as important and special, planned or unplanned, healthy or not.

I know that there is this idea floating around that we as women have the right to choose what we want to do with our bodies. And I agree to a certain extent, we do have the right to choose whether or not we have sex and if we use protection (excluding rape cases which is a whole different discussion). We as a country want to tell people that they can choose to have unprotected sex and then if they create a baby, they can take that life if it is not convenient to them. But parenting is never convenient, its hardly ever easy and it takes sacrifice. So when is convenience no longer an excuse for murder? I know this idea seems crazy to so many, but why don’t we put our children before ourselves? Why don’t we choose to be selfless for just once? It is my belief that we should protect those who can’t protect themselves, we should value their life more than our convenience and we should definitely stop killing babies because they are disabled, or unplanned because by doing that we are sending the message that they are less.

As a parent of a special need’s beautiful little girl I am offended by the fact that so many people think they are entitled to be able to end their child’s life because they are disabled. But what really scares me is when does it stop? At what point do we stop referring to a baby in the mothers womb as a fetus because it doesn’t feel as wrong to kill a fetus? At what point do we validate a life?

To be clear, I don’t judge women or even men who have chosen or will choose to end their child’s life but I refuse to call it something other than what it is. When you end a life, it is murder in every other situation so why is it not murder when the child is defenseless and innocent in their mothers womb? Why can we as human beings not protect the innocent and see that what we are doing is wrong? We all make mistakes, but we can never learn from them until we see them as such.

I pray for the lives that have been and will be taken, but I also pray and think of the mothers and I feel so bad for all that they have missed out on and lost. I pray that they won’t be negatively impacted but I also pray this will no longer be an option, because all I can see that it brings is pain.

Aubrey teaches me something new every day, and she has shown me that people with disabilities have so much to offer, and they are wonderful and unique individuals. But she has also taught me how to love selflessly and how every life is important. But I could have decided to abort her (although it was never even a thought in my situation) because my pregnancy was unplanned and based on our current laws it was a legal option and thank God I didn’t, because she has touched so many lives and the impact that she has and will have is worth so much more than my convenience. TC mark

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