Choosing Life and Hope After a Difficult Prenatal Diagnosis

After receiving a difficult prenatal diagnosis for their baby, parents can expect to feel grief, shock, disbelief, or anger. And they can also expect abortion to be recommended as the solution. And while prenatal diagnoses can help parents prepare for the birth of children who may need extraordinary care, they are also used as a reason to end the lives of these babies before they are even born.

Recently on Go Ask Your Father™Msgr. Stuart Swetland discussed the difficulty and pressure parents often face when they learn that their unborn baby has a serious medical condition. And while it takes tremendous courage to welcome a child no matter the challenges, it is always the right choice to give a child every chance at life.

Of the pressure to choose abortion after a prenatal diagnosis, Msgr. Swetland said, “So often that advice is freely given, flippantly sometimes it seems. But it can be particularly wrong when it’s based on a diagnosis about the possibility that the child may have certain defects, as if that should make a difference in the child living or not.”

Msgr. Swetland shared the story of Rob and Shelly Wall, of northwestern England, who were told five times that they should choose abortion, and they refused every time. They were told that their son Noah’s brain wasn’t developing normally in the womb, and that he had no chance at a happy life.

Shelly Wall said, “They gave us a whole list, you know, severely mentally and physically disabled, may be not be able to hear, see, eat, anything.”

Despite the pressure they experienced to end the pregnancy, the Walls refused. Rob Wall said of their decision, “Because we’re the parents, we know our own mind, and we’re positive people. So we wanted to give [every] chance of life.”

Noah, now six, was born with only 2% of his brain developed. But, defying the odds, his brain continued to grow significantly after birth. By age three his brain had grown to 80%. While Noah still has health issues, he has surpassed all expectations, and continues to make progress each year.

Even if the doctor’s predictions had come true, Noah’s life would still have value. And while his recovery is extraordinary, the situation that the Walls faced is all too common. In fact, after sharing the Wall’s story, Msgr. Swetland took a call from a listener named Marian who had a similar experience.

Marian said, “I heard you mentioning earlier about how doctors are so quick to want a woman to terminate a pregnancy. And 35 years ago, I was pregnant with my youngest. And I was in Texas, and the doctor set up an appointment for me to terminate my pregnancy because he said I’d been taking antihistamines for allergies.”

Marian refused to abort her child, despite pressure from both her doctor and her husband at the time. But she said, “I walked out of there just in a daze, and I remember I called my mom in Maine and asked her and her sisters to pray the Rosary for me, and they did.  I told the baby’s father that no, it’s not going to happen, and we had our arguments. But I want you to know that today this girl is a lovely, healthy pediatric nurse practitioner for children with cancer.”

Parents, children, and the disabled deserve better than the pressure of abortion. That’s one reason why hundreds of thousands of people are gathering next Friday, January 24, at the annual March for Life in Washington DC. If you can’t attend the March for Life yourself, you can still make a difference! Join Relevant Radio®’s #FastforLife to show solidarity with those at the March for Life, and all those who are facing the pressure to choose abortion rather than life for their children.

Find out more about the #FastforLife, and join us in prayer for all those who have been wounded by abortion.

You can listen to the story of Rob & Shelly Wall below, and tune-in to Go Ask Your Father weekdays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern/10:00 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio and the Relevant Radio App.

Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.