Melissa and Peter Therrien, of Brewster, Mass., faced that choice when they learned that their daughter had a very small skull, after an ultrasound during Mrs. Therrien’s 24th week of pregnancy.Here is a diagnosis that comes right around the point of "viability," the point where the constitutional right to have an abortion changes from free choice to an option available only where there is danger to the woman's own life or health. If the statutory law is as restrictive of abortion as the constitution permits, the parents are given virtually no time to absorb the terrible news before they must decide whether to reject a child they had wanted. I would think some parents would rush to have an abortion before the time window closes and then, perhaps, suffer horrible guilt for what they did so rashly. Other parents will feel called to step up to the moral challenge of continuing to love the child despite its imperfection and then, perhaps, later, too late, wish they had ended this ordeal and begun again, and in a life of what Peter Therrien called "walking on eggshells," they may long for that other child that never came into being.
“I felt heartbroken,” Mrs. Therrien, 21, said. “The doctor gave me the option to terminate the pregnancy.” But, she said, “I couldn’t do that.”
Their daughter, Alainah, is now 15 months old, but her development is uncertain. She can walk, although doctors said she might not, and she is given to peals of laughter, Mrs. Therrien said. Yet Alainah speaks just three words: Mama, Papa and “aba,” which she uses to describe various objects. ... Doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital will not know the extent of damage to her brain for nine months or so. She may still have seizures and profound disability.
“It’s just tough,” said Peter Therrien, 26. “There’s nothing we can do to fix it. We’ll pretty much be walking on eggshells for the rest of our lives.”
February 1, 2016
"Families have very little time to have the necessary studies, get the results, process their thoughts and make a decision before they reach the legal limits of termination...."