Doctors suggested an abortion after a 20-week ultrasound scan showed problems with Ava’s brain and esophagus. However, despite the daunting diagnosis of a rare brain condition called rhombencephalosynapsis, Marie Stockdale and Paul Kipling never considered abortion as an option. Pregnant with twin girls, they wanted to give their daughter a chance to fight and believed that every life deserves to be protected.
In England, abortion is legal for any reason up to 24 weeks. However, there is a broad exception in the law that allows abortions up to birth if the unborn baby has health problems. This provision has shocked and horrified many parents, who have been offered third-trimester abortions for children with Down syndrome and even conditions as minor as a cleft lip. This provision is deadly and devalues the lives of children with disabilities.
Ava and her twin sister, Mila, were born in May of 2022, and almost immediately after their birth, doctors prepared Ava for emergency surgery to correct the problems with her esophagus. The first surgery went well, but Ava developed another disorder called tracheomalacia, which caused breathing difficulties. She underwent a second surgery at five weeks old to fix the problem. After about two months in the hospital, Ava finally grew well enough to go home. Now, the twins are eight months old, and their parents already can see differences in their personalities.
Although Ava still uses a feeding tube, her mother said she is improving daily. Doctors are monitoring her brain condition, but so far, it seems to be mild. Ava went through a lot in the first few weeks of her life, but to see her now, getting stronger each day, is wonderful.
Every life is beautiful and should be cherished and protected, regardless of any potential challenges that may arise. Join us in praying that Ava’s health continues to improve!