Mother who chose life for son with anencephaly: “I wanted to hold him and meet him”

While New York and several other states are pushing radical anti-Life legislation to allow abortions up to birth, Pro-Life Texans are working to close the deadly loophole that allows for babies who may have a disability to be killed in late-term abortions.

A recent story shared by a grieving family in Northern Ireland shows the beautiful and heartbreaking reality of welcoming a precious and unique child who will only live for a short time. The Irish News reports that Dylan Stewart-McGovern and Catriona Smith are parents of two-year-old Cáragh. When they discovered last year that they were expecting again, they were “over the moon.”

As the pregnancy progressed, ultrasounds revealed that their son had anencephaly, a condition in which the child’s brain does not properly develop. Most babies with anencephaly only live a short time after birth if they are not stillborn.

Stewart-McGovern and Smith chose not to end their son’s life in an abortion. His mother said abortion “was never an option,” because “I would have never been able to end it.” She explained to the Irish News, “I wanted to hold him and meet him.”

Dylan-Joseph Stewart-McGovern was born on February 19, 2019, just before one in the morning. He was held by his loving parents for the entirety of his short life on Earth and passed away just before 5:30 am in his mother’s arms.

When Dylan-Joseph was born, he initially appeared to be stillborn, but he let out a gasp that delighted his parents. His father described the scene saying, “Catriona kissed him and said `My baby boy.’” He continued, “She was very tired. I just sat and held him for one-and-half hours. I gave him back to Catriona and at 5:25 am, he passed away.”

Dylan-Joseph was born with his aunt blessing him with Holy Water. His parents held him for hours, and his sister Cáragh was able to meet him.

Dylan-Joseph’s father expressed how difficult and emotional the experience was, saying the loss of his newborn son was “an absolute kick in the teeth.” Nevertheless, he told the Irish News that he would encourage other parents facing a similar diagnosis to “carry out because it is worth it.” He added, “It’s a lot of strain but worth it to see him.”

His mother echoed this saying, “It was very hard, mentally too. I was protecting him, this encouraged me to carry on and keep him safe.” She added, “This was the right decision for us. We don’t regret it. I would do it all again tomorrow.”

Many parents of children with life-limiting conditions diagnosed before birth describe a sense of peace after choosing Life. Sadly, most parents receive little or no information about life-affirming choices when they are faced with a difficult diagnosis. Even in Texas, which is strongly Pro-Life, when doctors suspect that a child may have a disability, they often push parents to abort.

Most people do not know about perinatal hospice programs that offer a loving and life-affirming environment to care for the needs of a child with a disability and give the grieving family space to cherish their child’s short Life.

Not only is the lack of life-affirming options for preborn babies with a disability a grave injustice for the child, the parents are also at increased risk for depression following an abortion decision. Writing for Live Action, Sarah Terzo presents the growing body of evidence that when parents end a child’s life in abortion following a disability diagnosis, they suffer greatly. Of course, any parent who loses a child in any circumstance will face tremendous grief and suffering, but several studies suggest that when parents are pressured into aborting their child, that suffering is magnified.

One study shows that 92% of mothers and 82% of fathers of children aborted due to fatal fetal anomaly suffer depression. Another study, in the British Medical Journal study, says, “Women undergoing termination of a planned or wanted pregnancy after prenatal diagnosis constitute a high risk group, vulnerable to depression and social disruption.”

With your help, Texas Right to Life is working to pass the Preborn NonDiscrimination Act (PreNDA) to protect every child from the violence of horrific late-term abortions. Babies like Dylan-Joseph deserve the Right to Life, even if their lives may be short. We cannot allow the deadly discrimination of late-term abortion on children with disabilities to continue in Texas.