A mum who refused an abortion after her son was found to have a heart defect at her 20 week scan, gave birth to a healthy baby whose heart condition completely vanished just five days later.
In 2019, 23-year-old Amber Casey became pregnant with her second child. At her 20-week scan, Amber was told that the left side of her baby’s heart was smaller than the right side and that her son would need open heart surgery when he was born. She was told that some children with this defect do not live past five years and she was offered an abortion.
Amber was sent from her hospital in Hemel Hempstead to London for an appointment at the Fetal Medicine Hospital. The medical team there confirmed the diagnosis, adding that her baby was at risk of congenital heart disease. They wanted to test her baby for chromosomal abnormalities. Amber was offered an abortion for a second time.
In the UK, abortion is legal up until birth if a baby is diagnosed with having a disability.
Amber said: “I cried the entire weekend, asking myself ‘Why me? Why our baby?’ and questioning what I’d done wrong to deserve it. I wanted the pain to end.”
“A fetal medicine nurse called and she was really supportive. She understood that as a mother, I didn’t know how to feel and I didn’t know whether to terminate.”
“She told us to have a look at charities and Facebook groups; I was amazed to get support from couples all over the world.”
“They told us their stories and about life with a child with congenital heart disease after birth.”
After declining an abortion, Amber had another scan at 25 weeks where her son was diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta where the left main artery was too narrow to let enough blood flow to his other organs. Amber declined further diagnostic tests.
“Again they asked if we wanted to test for chromosomal abnormalities as Orton’s bowel was bright but I declined as I didn’t want to risk putting him in any danger.”
Amber was induced at 37 weeks and her son Orton was born on the 10th January 2020 weighing 6lb 8oz. After he was treated for an infection, Orton was rescanned after five days and the left side of his heart had “randomly expanded” to the size of the right and worked “perfectly”.
Amber said: “I couldn’t believe it when doctors said the left side of his heart had randomly expanded.”
“They said it was miraculously the same size as the right side and worked perfectly!”
“Our hospital and neonatal cardiac doctor couldn’t explain to us why this happened and no one had ever seen this before – it was a real miracle.”
“I’m so grateful to have my son with me. He is now a happy, bubbly, cheeky one-year-old.”
Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “This is another heart-warming story of a brave woman who ignored advice to have an abortion. The doctors’ offer of abortion is direct discrimination against babies with disabilities, which should not be permitted. It turned out that baby Orton could recover from his illness, but even if he did not, that would be no justification for ending his life.”
“The appalling lethal discrimination against unborn babies with disabilities is on full display here. Whilst those doctors who offered Amber an abortion should be ashamed of their personal decisions, in a way their behaviour was simply the natural outcome of the discrimination deeply embedded in our laws that allow abortion up to birth for babies with disabilities.”