The intense abortion debate that unfolded during last week’s third and final presidential debate between Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton continues to reverberate, with women on both sides of the divide sharing their very personal pregnancy stories.
Among them was a powerful op-ed published on The Federalist this week by a woman named Cassy Fiano. Titled, “Instead Of A Late-Term Abortion For My Disabled Child, I Chose Life,” the piece documents why Fiano chose to carry her pregnancy to term after learning that her unborn child would have Down syndrome.
The author began the piece by discussing the heated abortion debate that unfolded between Trump and Clinton, going on to use it as a springboard to explain her own harrowing pregnancy story.
READ: Last Night’s Debate Was the First Time Life Took Center Stage. Here’s How Trump and Clinton Tackled Abortion.
“When I was still in the first trimester of my second pregnancy, I agreed to a test called a nuchal translucency screening. I knew that it screened for birth defects, like chromosomal disorders or heart problems, but I never really considered that it would come back positive,” Fiano wrote. “To my surprise, it came back positive, with 1:6 odds that my baby had Down syndrome.”
After the test, Fiano decided to have an amniocentesis, which confirmed that the unborn baby boy was either positive for Down syndrome or Trisomy 21 — a diagnosis that she said was “devastating.” To make matters worse, her husband — an active duty Marine at the time — had deployed to Afghanistan just days before her amniocentesis.
Naturally, Fiano was alone, scared and uncertain.
“I had never known anyone with Down syndrome. I had never even seen anyone with Down syndrome,” she admitted. “I didn’t feel prepared to raise a child with a disability. I was alone and terrified, and I cried for days.”
Fiano continued, “But despite my fear, I chose life for my son. There was no other option.”
She went on to passionately proclaim that there’s no excuse for terminating a pregnancy due to a disability, and said that she finds it “heart-wrenching” that so many people feel otherwise. While Fiano said it was never her plan to have a child with a disability, she affirmed that “having a disability does not mean that someone has less value than an able-bodied person.”
“Carrying my son in my body did not give me the right to take his life because he didn’t fit into the preconceived notions I had about what I wanted out of a child,” she wrote. “I don’t have the right to kill someone because he or she has a birth defect or a disability, not at any point in his or her life.”
Read Fiano’s entire piece here.
Other mothers have also spoken out of late about their experience having kids with Down syndrome, with Oakley Peterson, a mother of a baby boy who has Down syndrome, recently telling People magazine that the disorder “isn’t a tragedy.”
A video featuring Peterson discussing her experience raising Welles, 3, has gone viral in recent days, bringing in millions of views on social media; as for her part, the mother is speaking out about misconceptions surrounding Down syndrome.
“People do have misconceptions about people with special needs, and I think for them to see this quality of life of this child is resonating with a lot of people,” she told People.
Peterson, who said her son’s quality of life is “wonderful and beautiful,” also described her initial shock after learning her son had Down syndrome, though she said she instantly knew “he had a mission of positivity to spread.”
“We were still processing and dealing with a lot of shock, but I just kind of knew – even going through the process of mourning the loss of who I thought I was having – I could feel the specialness from him and this crazy, unconditional love, and I just knew that there was something about him that I needed to share,” she told the outlet.
Faithwire also recently shared a number of other related stories, including one about a mom who risked her life to save her baby — and another mom whose baby was born twice in a successful effort to save the child’s life.
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