Story No. 190: Provider from Connecticut

Laura and Mark were love-smitten high school seniors who found themselves thrust into the world of adulthood by a broken condom. Because of their religious beliefs, they were opposed to abortion and joyfully sought prenatal care with my practice.

Laura sat on Mark’s lap for every visit; they were inseparable, affectionate, devoted to one another, and blessed by their respective parents. When Laura was 20 weeks pregnant, they reluctantly agreed to an ultrasound, after refusing a test for neural tube defects earlier on. They shared an overwhelming optimism about the health of their unborn child, blinded by their youth and physical perfection.

They were devastated when the scan showed that their baby was affected by anencephaly, meaning absence of brain development. I remember watching the joy and laughter leave Laura and Mark as they absorbed this news. They sought refuge with their families and clergy, and jointly made the difficult decision to end the pregnancy rather than endure 20 more weeks, a delivery, and the certain death of the child soon thereafter.