Boy with ‘no brain’ continues to defy expectations after parents refused abortion five times

An eight-year-old born with spina bifida and only 2% of his brain has joined the weekly #ClapForOurCarers event as he continues his remarkable progress.

Doctors did not expect Noah Wall to live more than a few days and advised his parents, Shelley and Rob Wall, to consider abortion on five separate occasions.

But they refused, wanting to give their baby boy the chance of a healthy life, and Noah has been defying expectations ever since.

Describing the day Noah was born Shelly told the Mail: “The day he was born was amazing. We waited with baited breath.”

The couple were admitted to hospital a week before Noah was due to be born because the pressure on his brain was becoming dangerous.

There were 12 doctors in the operating theatre as experts performed a caesarean section and as Noah came into the world, he gave the doctors a sign.

Rob said: “He let out this amazing scream. We knew there was power there.”

Scans of Noah’s brain shortly after his birth show he had just 2% of his brain.

Miraculously, he kept on growing and so did his brain.

By the age of three, his brain had grown to a remarkable 80 percent of what it should be and is now nearly fully-functional, leaving medical professionals stunned.

Last year, Noah, who is paralysed from the waist down, moved his foot for the first time after undergoing pioneering therapy designed to alter the way the brain sends messages to his limbs.

Now the family sends regular updates to the doctors who told them Noah wouldn’t make it.

Shelly said: “He’s extraordinary. We send them emails and pictures and we take them presents at Christmas time.”

Every year, Noah gives out hundreds of Christmas presents to staff and patients at Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle – the hospital he was born in. With more therapy, it is hopeful he will one day deliver gifts on foot.

Rob said on the documentary, The Boy Without a Brain: “We were offered termination five times. It was never an option for us. To me, we wanted to give Noah that chance of life.”

“To hear his brain’s almost back to normal is beyond belief,” Shelly added. “Rob and I broke down when we heard the news. It was like a dream. I’ve never known anything like it. Even the consultants were in tears. Every time we see the doctors, they just shake their head. They’re just amazed at what he can do.”

Claire Nicholson, Noah’s consultant neurosurgeon, said in 2016: “He has surprised us through his life so far. He’s completely remarkable.”

She added that Noah teaches the medical profession that “you can’t ever know, doesn’t matter how many statistics you throw at something”.

Noah is just one of many babies who have defied the odds. 

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 the surgery has been made routinely available on the NHS the number of unborn babies terminated each year will fall.

Love my NHS #ClapForOurCarers sending everyone not just in the NHS but everyone that’s helping #ThankyouNHS

Posted by Noah Wall Model on Thursday, March 26, 2020

Baby girl who had surgery in the womb celebrates first birthday, but abortion prejudices remain

A baby girl who had pioneering spina bifida surgery whilst still being in her mother’s womb has 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.

The Simpsons were overjoyed when they found out they were expecting a baby, but were left disheartened when a midwife discovered their baby had a disability during the 20-week scan.

However, two days later, a specialist at University College London Hospitals (UCLH) told the couple about the possibility of a ground-breaking new surgery.

“There was a bit of hope in that darkness,” Bethan said.

The mental health nurse underwent a four-hour operation at 25 weeks, during which her womb was opened and a series of tiny stitches were used to close the gap in Elouise’s spine.

Bethan and Elouise were among the first in the UK to undergo the procedure in January 2019. The successful surgery was funded by a charitable trust between UCLH and Great Ormond Street Hospital, before the NHS made it routinely available in April last year.

Bethan said her daughter’s regular progress checks had been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak but said Elouise is developing normally and is thriving at home.

She told the BBC: “We certainly didn’t expect we’d be marking today in the middle of a pandemic.”

The couple say their priority now is to “shield” Elouise while keeping home life “normal and fun.”

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.”

Similar concerns have been raised by parents of children with Down’s syndrome.

A survey of over 1,400 parents revealed many are being misinformed and misled over the condition and in some cases are being pressured into abortion only days away from giving birth.

One mother, whose child is now three-years-old, said medical professionals told her they could leave her baby with Down’s syndrome to die if it was struggling after birth.

Under UK legislation, babies affected by Down’s syndrome and spina bifida can be aborted right up to birth.

This includes Northern Ireland, where an extreme abortion law has been imposed on the province.

In England and Wales – where abortion is available up until birth if a baby has a disability – people with disabilities are unjustly and disproportionately targeted by abortion legislation.

The latest available figures show that 90% of children diagnosed with Down’s syndrome before birth are aborted in England and Wales.

Additionally, estimates predict 80% of unborn babies diagnosed with spina bifida, each year, are aborted.

Northern Ireland had a very different approach and embraced a culture of welcoming and supporting people with this disability rather than eliminating them.

This is reflected directly in the latest figures (2016) from the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, which show that while there were 52 children born with Down’s syndrome, in the same year, only 1 child from Northern Ireland with Down’s syndrome was aborted in England and Wales.

Northern Ireland MLAs have called for an opportunity to introduce new legislation to repeal the new extreme abortion regime.

Additionally, Right To Life UK has launched its Save Lives: Repeal campaign urging Northern Ireland’s politicians to save lives by repealing the extreme abortion regime.

A spokesperson for Right To Life UK, Catherine Robinson has said: “The revelations of women who experience daily the lives of those with Down’s syndrome, spina bifida and other disabilities should be listened to.”

“Currently, women are making life or death decisions influenced by outdated and prejudiced views on disability.

“Expectant women are sometimes not given accurate information about the reality of life with these conditions and  there are stories of doctors suggesting ‘abortion is the only option’.” 

“We call on MLAs in Northern Ireland to save lives by bringing forward legislation as soon as possible to repeal the extreme abortion regime which allows for disability-selective abortion right up to birth.”

11-time Paralympian gold-medallist reveals pressure disabled people face to abort their babies

Wheelchair racing legend and eleven-time Paralympic gold medallist Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson has spoken out about the discrimination and pressure to abort that pregnant disabled athletes like her can face.

Grey-Thompson was a nine-time Paralympic gold medallist when she became pregnant with her daughter Carys in 2001 but later won two more gold medals.

She revealed to the Stumps, Wheels and Wobblies podcast the pressure she faced to abort her daughter: “The first thing I was offered at my first scan was a termination because people were like: ‘You should not have children.'”

“I lost count of the number of people who asked me how I got pregnant,” Grey-Thompson recalled. “People like you can’t do that.”

Grey-Thompson has spina bifida, a condition caused when a baby’s spine and spinal cord does not develop properly in the womb.

She said: “We had a discussion [with the medical staff] about if I was trying for babies and that individual had some quite complicated views on disability – [an attitude of] we might breed and we might spread.”

“I had to answer lots of questions about what you do if it’s disabled.

“I said I would make sure they have a really cool chair, not like the horrible chair I had until I was 15!”

When Paralympic cyclist Hannah Dines responded: “I was hoping you were going to say ‘but, that was 17 years ago and it’s all changed now’”.

However, one of her co-hosts, actress Ruth Madeley, said that her documentary on spina bifida revealed that “the first thing expectant mothers [of babies diagnosed with spina bifida] are offered is a termination and that is now”.

She added: “The abortion rate is still 80%, a lot of that is coming from a medical professional advising it”.

One in every 1,000 pregnancies is affected by a spine or brain defect.

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 the surgery has been made routinely available on the NHS the number of unborn babies terminated each year will fall.

Grey-Thompson has previously spoken about terminating a disabled baby, saying “the reality is pregnancies are being terminated far more than before and disability is seen as a negative thing.”

On Sunday, it was revealed that the number of babies born with Down’s syndrome has dropped by 30% in NHS hospitals that have introduced new non-invasive prenatal tests.

Right To Life UK spokesperson Catherine Robinson said:

“Stories like Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson’s have unfortunately been commonplace for the past two decades. Pressuring disabled women to abort their babies, simply because they are disabled, shows an entire lack of compassion and care towards disabled people both in the womb and outside it.”

(Image credit: Tanni Grey-Thompson)

Boy with ‘no brain’ continues to defy expectations after parents refused abortion five times

A seven-year-old from Cumbria has moved his foot for the first time after undergoing pioneering therapy after his parents rejected pressure from doctors to abort him.

Doctors did not expect Noah Wall, who was born with spina bifida, only 2 per cent of his brain and is paralysed from the waist down, to live more than a few days.

They advised his parents, Shelley and Rob Wall, to consider abortion on five separate occasions. But they refused, and now Noah continues to defy expectations.

But, at the age of three, his brain had grown to a remarkable 80 percent of what it should be and is now nearly fully-functional, leaving medical professionals stunned.

He is now undergoing specialised treatment – designed to alter the way the brain sends messages to his limbs.

“We were offered termination five times,” Rob told documentary, The Boy Without a Brain. “It was never an option for us. To me, we wanted to give Noah that chance of life.”

“To hear his brain’s almost back to normal is beyond belief,” Shelly Wall said. “Rob and I broke down when we heard the news. It was like a dream. I’ve never known anything like it. Even the consultants were in tears. Every time we see the doctors, they just shake their head. They’re just amazed at what he can do.”

Every year, Noah gives out hundreds of Christmas presents to staff and patients at Great North Children’s Hospital in Newcastle – the hospital he was born in. With more therapy, it is hopeful he will one day deliver gifts on foot.

Claire Nicholson, Noah’s consultant neurosurgeon, said in 2016: “He has surprised us through his life so far. He’s completely remarkable.”

She added that Noah teaches the medical profession that “you can’t ever know, doesn’t matter how many statistics you throw at something”.

Noah is just one of many babies who have defied the odds. 

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 the surgery has been made routinely available on the NHS the number of unborn babies terminated each year will fall.