Canadian healthcare professionals offer unborn babies hope through coronavirus crisis

A team of healthcare professionals in Canada have provided continuous support and reassurance to parents of unborn babies with spina bifida during the coronavirus pandemic.

Expecting parents, like Amanda and Devon Allenby, were concerned their unborn babies wouldn’t receive corrective treatment for the condition when the outbreak of COVID-19 placed elective surgeries on hold.

Speaking to CTV News, Amanda said: “We were told because of COVID, we were not going to be able to have fetal surgery.”

However, the Ontario Fetal Centre medical team at Mount Sinai Hospital – the only place in Canada that performs corrective treatment for the condition – had a plan.

To overcome the challenge, the medical team started virtual appointments to help prepare expectant mothers for the in-womb surgery. It meant mothers could be fully informed on the procedure and meet the healthcare professionals who would be involved before arriving at the hospital.

With the help of these virtual appointments, Amanda became the first patient to have the in-womb surgery on her baby after the COVID-19 pause.

Amanda and Devon said although their son isn’t out of the woods yet, he is doing well and will be born at the end of July.

Father Devon added: “It’s one less procedure he’s going to have to go through and I’m super thankful to the doctors and physicians who were able to accept Amanda and get it done for her. A huge weight was lifted off our shoulders.”

Dr Greg Ryan, head of the fetal medicine program at Mount Sinai Hospital, told CTV news the in-womb surgery for spina bifida involves opening the mother’s stomach and taking the baby out of the womb.

A pioneering new surgery

Three years ago, two-year-old Eiko was the first baby to undergo the pioneering surgery in Canada.

Eiko’s mother, Romeila Son, was told her daughter faced paralysis, living in a wheelchair and brain damage without the surgery.

“Now she’s doing great. She’s walking around, chasing her brothers around the house, talking, knows her abcs, her shapes,” Son said.

Babies diagnosed with spina bifida in Canada and the UK can be aborted right up to the point of birth.

In the UK, it is estimated 80 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with spina bifida each year are aborted. In Canada the termination rate is over 65%.

However, pro-life campaigners are hopeful that the relatively new option of in-womb surgery, which has been made routinely available on the NHS, will decrease the number of unborn babies being terminated each year.

Mothers misinformed

Earlier this year, a baby girl, who had the 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”.

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

Bethan also raised concerns that pregnant women are being misinformed on spina bifida.

“Since becoming a mum I’ve had the chance to reflect on that traumatic time. My only option was to fight. But most importantly, it was about being informed.

“There is a lot of negative information around spina bifida.

“Without being fully informed as parents, Elouise would not be where she is now.”

Her concerns were shared by a mother who described the relentless pressure she faced to have an abortion after doctors diagnosed her baby with spina bifida last year.

Natalie Halson, who refused an abortion ten times, said doctors “made out like an abortion was my only option and explained that if I went ahead with the pregnancy my baby would be wheelchair bound and have no quality of life.”

“When I got off the phone I went and did tonnes of research and found out that there were options for my little girl – I felt suddenly really angry that they had made out I had none.”

Speaking about her daughter, Mirabelle, who has since had corrective surgery on her spine, Natalie said: “I look at Mirabelle now and think ‘I wouldn’t even have known you.’ It doesn’t bear thinking about.”

Africa asks for ventilators during COVID-19, UK Govt sends abortion funds

While developing countries ask for ventilators and PPE, amidst the coronavirus crisis, the UK Government has given an extra £10 million to the UNFPA targeted at developing nations including a number of African countries which includes spending on abortion.

African countries are in desperate need of ventilators, personal protective equipment and basic medical supplies as cases of COVID-19 continue to grow there.

The United Nations projects that, even in the best scenario, the continent’s 54 countries with a population of 1.3 billion people, will need 30,000 ventilators this year.

However, recent reports claim there are only 2,000 ventilators across the continent and that ten nations have no ventilators at all.

The World Health Organization’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, stated that “the issue of ventilators is one of the biggest challenges that the countries are facing.” 

Despite this huge challenge, the UK Government has decided to divert some of the international development spending that could be directed to funding this vital equipment to instead spend on funding more abortions for developing countries.

In response to a question asked by pro-abortion MP Caroline Lucas, the Government revealed it has continued to fund abortions across the continent.

Lucas asked the Government, in light of the crisis, what steps they had taken to “work with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to secure the supply of reproductive health products and ensure that women and girls in developing countries continue to have access to contraception and safe abortion throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.”

In its response, the Government revealed that the UK has continued with its existing support to UNFPA, including the UNFPA Supplies programme (£425 million between 2020-2025), and it has given an additional £10 million to the UNFPA.

It added, the Department for International Development (DfID) is already working closely with UNFPA in “providing high quality family planning and essential life-saving maternal health medicines to those in need, including commodities required for post-abortion care and medical abortions where it is legal.”

The extra spending is on a UNFPA project called the Global Humanitarian Response Plan includes and will include the roll-out of abortion services through the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP). The MISP was developed through the Inter-Agecy Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crises, of which the UNFPA and abortion giant Marie Stopes International are members. One of the MISPs five objectives is to provide abortions in response to a humanitarian crisis. 

The group claim not all benefactors of its aid need to provide what they call “safe abortion care”.

However, in the documentaries Killing Africa and Strings Attached, the founder of Culture for Life Africa, Obianuju Ekeocha, exposes how pro-abortion organisations sneak their agenda into Africa under the guise of family planning and maternal mortality reduction programmes.

Additionally, the documentaries reveal how the UK isn’t just funding medical abortions where it is legal, as suggested in its response to Caroline Lucas, but is also funding illegal terminations through its funding of abortion giant Marie Stopes International.

Jacqueline Gandi who worked at a Marie Stopes clinic in Kenya revealed to the Strings Attached documentary that illegal abortions were being performed in the country and being recorded as “post-abortion care”.

Financial statements for the company found in Companies House reveal that, since 2006, DfID has given over £300 million worth of taxpayers’ money to MSI, with over three-quarters of that total given between 2014 and 2018. This enormous increase has made DfID the single biggest donor to Marie Stopes International.

Obianuju Ekeocha has previously stated that not popular support among the general population in African countries for abortion to be legalised.

“The polls show overwhelmingly that Africans hate abortion, abhor abortion, both women and men.

“We have parliaments, we have different paths of legislature that can go through the process of legalising abortion – of passing a Bill, of making it law – but still the African countries continue to hold on to a particular view of the human person that life begins at conception.”

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson said:

“65% of the public oppose UK taxpayer money being spent on abortions overseas.

“Rather than continuing to support the pro-abortion lobby’s agenda, the UK Government should focus on assisting developing countries in getting the vital equipment it needs to save lives.”

PM announces birth of son whose ultrasound scan helped him get through coronavirus

Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds have announced the birth of a healthy baby boy at a London hospital earlier this morning.

Both mother and baby are doing very well, their spokesperson has said.

They added: “The prime minister and Ms Symonds are thrilled to announce the birth of a healthy baby boy at a London hospital earlier this morning. Both mother and baby are doing very well.

“The PM and Ms Symonds would like to thank the fantastic NHS maternity team.”

Johnson only returned to work Monday after spending a week in hospital, including three nights in intensive care, suffering from coronavirus.

Earlier this month, it was revealed his recovery from the illness was aided by seeing ultrasound scans of his unborn son.

His concerned fiancé sent Johnson daily letters and scans of their unborn baby to lift his morale while he was in intensive care.

A Downing Street source had told the Sun at the time: “It’s been a very, very worrying time for Carrie. She has been urging Boris to get well for their unborn child.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock posted on Twitter: “So thrilled for Boris and Carrie. Wonderful to have a moment of unalloyed joy!”

And Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: “Wonderful news. Many congratulations to Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds.” 

Boris Johnson’s position on life issues is largely unclear. Since becoming an MP in 2001, Johnson has abstained from the majority of votes on life issues. 

However, in 2015 he was among 330 MPs who roundly defeated a Bill seeking to introduce assisted suicide in the UK.

Mother recovers from coronavirus coma to discover she’d given birth to baby girl

A pregnant woman who had a severe case of coronavirus came out of a week-long medically induced coma earlier this month to the discovery that she had given birth to a baby girl. 

Respiratory therapist Angela Primachenko was 33 weeks pregnant when she started to develop fever-like symptoms, which she suspected were from spring allergies. 

However, just one week later, Angela had tested positive for COVID-19 and on 29 March was placed into a medically induced coma so that her body could focus on overcoming the infection. 

As Angela lay comatose in her hospital room, her medical team at Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center in Washington State had an hour-long meeting to decide how to handle her care and pregnancy. 

Eventually, her doctors came to the decision it would be best for both the mother and baby to induce labour, several weeks early.

On 1 April, while Angela was still unconscious and fighting the virus, doctors induced labour and delivered a 4.5lb (2kg) baby girl. 

Doctors placed the premature baby in the neonatal intensive care unit so they could monitor her.

Days later, the coronavirus still gripped Angela and she was waning physically.

Her twin sister, Oksana, said she and her eight other siblings were scared they were going to lose their sister that day. 

Thankfully, Angela’s condition started to improve and on 6 April she woke up from the coma, unaware she had become a mother for the second time.

“After all the medication and everything I just woke up and all of a sudden I didn’t have my belly anymore! It was just extremely mind-blowing,” Angela told NBC’s Today programme.

She and her husband David have named their baby Ava, which means ‘breath of life’, with Angela revealing that she has always loved the name, but that it felt all the more appropriate after what she and her baby have been through. 

This week Ava was able to leave the neonatal intensive care unit and join her 11-month-old sister Emily, mother and father at the family home, all of whom have tested negative for COVID-19.

On Instagram, Angela said: “The last few weeks have been filled with so much unexpected change in my life… and I feel like I can write a novel… but for tonight I’ll just write that life is good, and let’s find the good in it everyday.”