PROLIFE FACTS Harriet Jackson, wrote in the NZ Herald (“Abortion no answer to birth defects”, 27th October) about the death of her baby Babette, 14 hours after her birth. When Babette was diagnosed with severe spina bifida at 22 weeks, the doctors at Christchurch Maternal Foetal Medicine Unit offered Harriet an immediate abortion “without having to tell my husband and without a second ultrasound scan or ‘cool off’ period.”
The doctors and the hospital social worker chose not to inform Harriet that there were three support groups available. When Harriet later contacted these support groups they said that doctors have their brochures but decline to give them to shocked parents when they are first informed of their baby’s disability.
Harriet also met other women who were pressured by obstetricians to abort their babies, even when they made it clear they would refuse to do so. “At 42 weeks, my daughter arrived after an uncomplicated delivery. Her birth and the 14 hours we had with her alive are deeply imprinted on my life, my husband’s and my children’s.”