Girl, 3, with spina bifida defies odds by learning to walk after parents reject doctor’s advice to have an abortion

A three-year-old girl with spina bifida has defied the odds by learning how to walk unaided, after her parents rejected doctors advice to have an abortion.

Erica Ardolino-Comparin was told by her doctor that her unborn baby would be with myeloschisis – a severe form of spina bifida – and paralysed from the waist down during her 18-week-scan.

The doctor then went on to tell Erica she should have an abortion, which she declined. However, the doctor applied more pressure saying that, if Erica was his wife, he would urge her to have an abortion.

Erica told the Mail: “We were devastated when we were advised to terminate the pregnancy. It felt like we had just lost our child even though we hadn’t.

“Even when we told the doctor we were choosing not to go ahead with the option to terminate, he proceeded to give us this option multiple times afterwards and even let me know that if I were his wife he would tell her the same thing.”

Despite the doctor’s advice, Harper-Mae was born on 19 September, 2016 paralysed from the torso down with just partial mobility in her legs.

In February 2017, the little fighter began physical therapy sessions with activities designed to help her build mobility and strength.

Soon after, Harper-Mae learned to walk with the support of a walker inspiring her physical therapists to believe she may one day be able to take steps without it.  

Now, following corrective surgeries and the continued support of her parents and physical therapists, Harper-Mae has beaten the odds and can walk unaided.

Just this year, she made a significant breakthrough when she rode her bike without straps to hold her feet down for the first time.

Sharing the breakthrough on Facebook, proud mother Erica said: “This girl is absolute magic!!! After working so hard in therapy on learning to ride a bike with no straps, Harper is finally doing it. One of Harper’s goals for her last 3 week intensive therapy program was biking, and she did it!!!”

“Spina Bifida doesn’t have anything on this little cutie.”

Commenting further in the Mail, she said: “Watching Harper’s progress and her showing that she is more than a medical diagnosis makes us extremely proud.

“Whilst growing up with spina bifida isn’t always the easiest and certainly has its ups and downs, Harper has been able to live life just like a normal three-year-old little girl.”

She added: “We believe Harper is destined for great things and that she can help to change the world. At only three years old, Harper has been able to impact many people and we know that she will continue to do so for the rest of her life.

“We truly feel that she will be a bright light in our world and that she will help to not only redefine spina bifida but change the perspective that people have about disabilities in general.”

Sadly, babies diagnosed with spina bifida in the UK can be aborted right up to the point of birth.

Estimates have predicted that 80 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with spina bifida each year are aborted.

However, pro-life campaigners are hopeful that now that corrective surgery has been made routinely available on the NHS, the number of unborn babies terminated each year will fall.

In April, a baby girl who had pioneering spina bifida surgery whilst still being in her mother’s womb celebrated her first birthday at home.

After diagnosing Elouise with the condition last year, doctors offered her parents a termination saying the outcome was “bleak”.

Her parents, Kieron and Bethan Simpson, refused to have an abortion and now Elouise, who is described as “happy and smiley” by her mother, is thriving.

Likewise, Noah Wall, who was also born with the condition, is also flourishing at the age of eight after his parents turned down five separate offers to have an abortion. Noah has been joining in with the weekly #ClapForOurCarers event as he continues his remarkable progress.

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