Giving Many Parents Reason for Hope

ve8QAd   |   April 11, 2019

Sadly, we are living in a time that when medical complications with an unborn baby arise, abortion is frequently the answer.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Advancements in prenatal surgery have yielded breathtaking results.

This is especially important to pro-life advocates because the option of effective surgical (and other) intervention during pregnancy can empower mothers and fathers to say no to abortion and yes to life.

Surgery on unborn babies is not new.  But the news of exciting breakthroughs and life-altering impacts on babies and their parents is unknown to most people.

The condition of spina bifida is one such example. Spina bifida is the failure of the baby’s spinal column to close properly during development. Its impact may possibly result in severe paralysis or intellectual impairment.

Tara Sander Lee, Ph.D., an associate scholar of the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), brings attention to research showing dramatic results from prenatal surgery for spina bifida.

One major reason more parents should be hopeful can be found in the Management of Myelomeningocele Study.  Myelomeningocele is spina bifida in its most severe form.  A clinical trial involving unborn babies with this condition and the impact of prenatal surgery was conducted at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Vanderbilt University and University of California, San Francisco.

Not only did the research demonstrate the effectiveness of prenatal surgery, it found that when performed earlier in pregnancy – before 26 weeks – babies fared better. The outcomes were so positive, they interrupted the study so that treatment wouldn’t be denied to babies who were to receive standard postnatal surgery. Their findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

A related paper entitled “The Perinatal Revolution” was recently published

in the peer-reviewed journal Issues in Law and Medicine. Its authors are Drs. Colleen Malloy, Monique Chireau Wubbenhourst and Tara Sander Lee, two of whom are associate scholars of CLI.

Their findings focus on considerable advancements in fetal imaging, prenatal treatments and genetic advances. The paper states, “The Perinatal Revolution continues to unfold through research, engineering, genetic, medical and surgical advances that are occurring at breakneck speed.” CLI’s president, Charles (Chuck) Donovan, celebrates the paper’s conclusion, saying that the unborn child “deserves to be treated as a patient within the patient.”

Fetal surgery is effectively treating many other conditions such as, oligohydramnios (low amniotic fluid levels), congenital cystic adenomatoid malformations (fetal lung lesions) and severe kidney obstruction, just to name a few.

But even with the advancements in prenatal surgery, half of all babies diagnosed with spina bifida in North America are aborted. One reason for this appalling reality is likely the personal views of the physicians and whether or not they believe the benefits outweigh the burdens of prenatal surgery. Tragically, when the woman’s physician advises her to abort, it bears considerable weight in her final decision.

The more women and men that we reach regarding the life-affirming alternatives to abortion when pregnancy complications arise, the more babies we will save, and the more parents will be protected from the often devastating emotional aftermath.

Parents often have reason to hope when their baby receives a serious diagnosis in the womb.

Let’s tell the world!


For the babies and their parents,

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