A mother who was advised to have an abortion more than ten times is set to celebrate her first at home Christmas with her daughter.
Chloe Conlin, a mother from Norwich, refused to have an abortion despite pressure from doctors. Her daughter, Miyah, now 14 months old, has a serious heart defect called atrial isomerism. She underwent open heart surgery last Christmas Eve shortly after she was born.
“She’s doing really well at the moment”, said Ms Conlin. “They told me she wouldn’t be reaching her milestones. She’s started walking. She took her first steps about three weeks ago and she’s running around now”.
She said: “When I was pregnant they told me to have an abortion over 10 times because they said she wouldn’t be compatible with life, it would be a real struggle”.
Since her heart surgery though, Miyah has not had any major hospital admissions has been moving from strength to strength.
“She’s been doing really well. She’s got another [surgery] coming up in the next couple of years and that will be her last surgery that they can do for her, then after that it will be to see how far she can actually go”, her mother said.
“They can’t fix her heart, they can only help her live longer, so it’s palliative care”.
She said it will be “amazing to celebrate Christmas at home” and plans to spend it with family and “a lot of presents to make up for last year”.
Pressure to abort
In this case medical professionals assumed that Chloe wanted an abortion because her child had a disability.
A number of other parets have come forward to speak out about the pressure they have received to proceed with an abortion after their baby has been diagnosed with a disability. The situation has become so bad that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) has recently released guidance telling health professionals that they must be ‘non-directional’ in their advice and diagnosis of pre-natal disability.
The emphasis on a non-directive approach occurs within the context of parents who decide they do not want an abortion “being asked repeatedly if they want further diagnostic tests or an abortion”.
“[These parents] report having their decisions challenged and being pressured into changing their minds”.
The guidelines go on to state: “This should not happen”.
“Parents should have the scope to change their minds, but not be pressured into doing so – their decisions should be accepted and respected at all times”.
Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said:
“The persistent offers of abortion to a woman who clearly does not want one tell us something about the anti-disability mindset of her doctors, which is apparently shared by many others. The pressure that women who have a pre-natal foetal disability diagnosis seem to experience so often is unacceptable. The RCOG guidelines could not have come sooner”.