A family in the United Kingdom faced an uncertain prognosis for their son after learning that he suffered from Amniotic Band Syndrome before birth. The condition can inhibit the growth of limbs for the preborn baby. In the case of Henry Higgs, now 11 months, doctors could not tell his mom, Rosie, what to expect.
Discovered in a routine ultrasound during pregnancy, the condition was difficult for the family. Rosie told the Daily Mail, “When I was told my baby would only have one arm – and no legs – I was so worried and upset.” Yet, despite the uncertainty, she said, “There was no doubt in my mind that I was keeping him – no matter what I was advised.”
Often, doctors tell parents facing a difficult or uncertain prenatal diagnosis to end a child’s life in abortion.
Rather than allowing the child to live as long as he or she will naturally live, doctors fearing liability are often quick to pressure families to undergo abortion. This modern-day eugenics has dramatically changed our society and affects countless families each year.
Medical professionals sometimes claim that ending a child’s life is the “compassionate” choice. But the babies born into difficult circumstances are living proof that killing is not the answer.
Henry’s mother found support through her midwives. She began ignoring the advice from some friends and relatives to end Henry’s life in abortion. “Luckily the midwives were absolutely incredible,” says Rosie. “I was so stressed throughout my pregnancy and when Henry was born the midwives asked if I wanted to see him straight away because I was nervous.”
“Scans can only tell you so much. It was such a build up and a worry when he first came out I didn’t know what to expect,” Rosie explained.
Despite all the anxiety, no doubt exacerbated by the continual pressure to end her child’s life in abortion, Rosie says that when her husband handed Henry to her, “I fell in love.”
Henry’s older siblings, Alice, 13, and Michael, 7, had a similar experience. When the children met their brother for the first time, they immediately accepted him as their brother whom they care for and love.
After undergoing surgery on his one hand, Henry is progressing and learning to explore the world. Rosie told the Daily Mail, “He’s able to pick things up without any problems which is really surprising. He’s progressing really well.” She added, “Henry is progressing so well I don’t have any worries about his future.”
Henry’s story shows just how much is lost when parents are pressured to lose hope and opt for abortion.
A unique and unrepeatable person is killed through the violence of abortion and the family never has the opportunity to meet and love that child.
In many instances, children may not have the opportunity for a long life, which Henry’s family anticipates he will have. Even in these cases, the child’s life is no less a gift and no less worthy of protection.
Henry’s future is not without challenges. Rosie explained, “I know he will always be a little bit different but we take it day by day and I know he’ll be able to cope with any future challenges.”
One way the family is learning to face those challenges is through peer support in the group Reach, an organization that helps children with upper limb differences. Rosie said, “Thanks to the charity I’ve been in contact with loads of parents in similar positions.”
This collaborative community is the key to meaningful support for many families facing a challenging diagnosis. Knowing that other people have walked on the same path ahead of you can make all the difference. As Rosie said, “They’ve been amazing. They’ve really helped me get through it. “
The family is preparing for big changes. “The house is something that we’re going to have to adapt as he gets older because it’s not suitable the way it is at the moment. That is a bit of a worry,” Henry’s mother explained.
In the meantime, his mother says he is “a happy chap” who “doesn’t let his disability hold him back in any way.” She added, “He’s a flirt, he’s got a cheeky smile and he’s always laughing. He loves his big sister.”
Rosie, Henry’s mother who courageously defended her son’s life, said, “He might not have all of his arms and legs, but he’s absolutely perfect to me.’”