The heroine of The Sound of Music, Maria von Trapp, was told by her doctor to have an abortion because her unborn son was thought to be disabled. Not only did she not have an abortion, but her son was born healthy.
The story of the von Trapp family, their musical prowess and how they escaped Nazi Germany is well known, but less well known is the story of how Maria von Trapp refused to abort her tenth child, Johannes, even though the story was published decades ago.
In her book, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, Maria von Trapp details that, shortly after her family moved to the US in the late 1930s, she found out that she was pregnant with her last child. She visited a doctor complaining of severe back pain.
She wrote “‘Your wife cannot have another child,’ he informed my husband; ‘at least, not until the kidneys are back to normal. They are both badly infected … The child has to be removed, of course, immediately’”.
“The predictions of the doctor proved beautifully wrong”
Maria was unimpressed with the doctor’s recommendation that she have an abortion and said to him “‘What do you mean, of course? That is not of course at all. On the contrary, it is absolutely out of the question—we are Catholics, you know.’ Now the doctor seemed seriously worried. ‘The child won’t be born alive; this much I can tell you.’”
Despite the doctor’s insistence, Maria bravely refused to consider ending the life of her unborn son. She writes about when she eventually went into labour: “I had to squeeze [my husband’s] hand very hard, and time seemed to stand still. Then I heard a funny little squeak … At that minute a full chorale downstairs started: ‘Now thank we all our God!. Why it’s a boy!’ … The predictions of the doctor proved beautifully wrong, and Johannes promises to be a fine American boy.”
Her son was born healthy
Later, when Maria learned about the abortion provider’s (Planned Parenthood) notion of an ‘unwanted child’, she thought of her son’s birth.
“I must say, Johannes had not been exactly planned for that very moment, and as far as being wanted is concerned, I would have gladly said many times, ‘Oh, won’t you please be so kind as to wait for just six months?’” she wrote.
Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said “Even though the story is decades old, it is an important reminder that the need to protect and cherish the life of mothers and their unborn children is always present. Even in a society in which abortion was far more restricted than it is now, some people were pushing to end the lives of unborn babies because they were thought to be disabled”.
“Sadly, discrimination against unborn babies with disabilities in the womb is so entrenched in our culture, that the law in England and Wales allows abortion up to birth if the child is thought to be disabled.”