Brave Mom Rejects Pressure to Abort Her Disabled Child, Finds Guardian Angels at “The Promise”


by Janet Morana and Kevin Burke, LSW

Blessed are the poor in spirit … for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Here’s a real life situation that is tailor made for pro abortion apologists:

– Arielle is a single mother of two young children and facing an unplanned   pregnancy. In the early stages of her prenatal care the doctor told her “your baby has a serious medical condition and won’t survive.”  Arielle’s baby girl had a chromosomal defect known as Trisomy 18, along with severe cardiac defects. The chances of her child surviving a full term pregnancy, let alone being born alive were slim. And if the baby was born alive, she would likely die before her first birthday.

In the majority of cases like this the unborn baby will be aborted. The mother (and father if involved) will face the complicated grief and trauma that are common after such procedures.

Medical Pressures to Abort

Arielle was a patient at a Pittsburgh-based hospital pregnancy clinic. Many of the medical professionals advised her to abort.  When Arielle informed them that she was going to carry the child to term, she found that the clinic did not want to spend money on a life that was not expected to survive long after birth. Arielle was feeling more isolated and alone. Her hope was that clinic personnel would be more sensitive and attentive to her struggle as an expectant mother of a child with medical challenges.

Despite great pressure Arielle resisted. She drew upon a deepening of her faith and trust in God. She revealed a spiritual wisdom that far exceeded that of the highly educated medical professionals who were presenting abortion as the only reasonable solution to her problem pregnancy.

Arielle reflects on their temptations to abort:

“Do you know how the devil makes bad things look good?” 
Arielle discerned that if her daughter were to die, then the death of her baby should be natural, not based on her decision…but on God’s timing. Arielle made the brave choice to carry her baby girl to term. When she shared the news of her baby’s poor prognosis with her 9 year-old daughter and 8 year-old son, their response, like their mother’s revealed an advanced level of trust in God’s providence:

“We will love her as long as she’s with us,” the children told their mother.

Even with her strong faith and supportive children, Arielle was still alone with a very challenging diagnosis, and an uncertain future.

Thankfully the faithfulness of Arielle and her family was rewarded when a representative from Northside Christian Community Health Center told her about The Promise.

The Promise is a Pittsburgh based prolife program of Catholic Palliative Services committed to walking alongside families with a poor prognosis for their unborn and newly born infants. They help women like Ariel to face their journey with hope and optimism.

Arielle came to The Promise overwhelmed and not aware of her options and the best way to proceed. The Promise team of Lori Heil and doula, Brandy Rawls offered the support and guidance to help Arielle discern the best options for her care:

“Brandy knew questions that I didn’t even think of,” Arielle stated.

Advocates for Life

One of the most important resources The Promise provides is advocacy for the mother and child. Parents face an uphill battle in a medical climate that can be hostile to those that choose life-affirming alternatives when facing a fetal disability. Arielle was being denied appointments with neonatologists and other specialists. She needed a knowledgeable advocate for herself and her unborn baby. Here’s where a resource like The Promise is so important.

Promise representatives attended Arielle’s clinic appointments and secured the care typical for a pregnant woman. “Lori and Brandy helped to put things into perspective that were too touchy for others to handle,” Arielle shared.

When she chose not to terminate her pregnancy, clinic personnel were encouraging Arielle to place the baby in a hospital setting after her birth. Knowing that she had a team of people focusing on a live birth and possible discharge to home alleviated many of the unknowns for Arielle. Through The Promise, Arielle’s baby would have the opportunity to be at home with family, with medical care provided by Catholic Hospice.

A Brief Life…an Eternal Destiny

Alonna Angel quietly entered this world on Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 3:27 PM weighing four pounds, two ounces and measuring 17 ½ inches long. Approximately twenty minutes later, she took her final breath on this earth while lovingly cradled in the arms of her mother.

Everything happens for a reason. How often we have heard that phrase as a condolence statement in reaction to a difficult time in our lives. Although it’s meant to be supportive, most often it can also evoke great sadness and heartache. But for those who maintain a strong and faithful relationship with God…like Arielle and her family…everything happens for His reason.

Although the emotional healing will take time, a memorial service is being planned to recognize Alonna Angel’s short life on this earth and the great love that her mother and siblings hold for her. Arielle’s hope is that her experience with this pregnancy will get her to a place where she can help others going through the similar situations. The Promise will follow Arielle and her two surviving children for 13 months in a specialized bereavement program.

Every life is a miracle, whether long or short, it is worthy and matters. Arielle demonstrated incredible faith and strength to give her daughter the gift of life.

Support services provided through The Promise are made possible by community contributions and foundation grant support. If you would like more information on the program or to contribute, call 1.866.933.6221.

6 Responses to “Brave Mom Rejects Pressure to Abort Her Disabled Child, Finds Guardian Angels at “The Promise””

  1. […] article originally appeared at The Catholic View for Women by Janet Morana and Kevin Burke, […]

  2. Marcelina says:

    In a world that is almost depleted of love and respect for life for unborn baby’s; this is the kind of stories that make me feel so proud of defending life on behalf of our unborn babies and so proud of my Catholic doctrine and values. Thanks.

  3. Jeanne Gore says:

    This was love in it’s purest form. God love Arielle and her three children!

  4. apol2lits says:

    “Sadly it may seems as the terms of this generation, when clinics (gov’t institutions) etc. addresses that, it did not want to spend money on a life that was not expected to survive long after birth. is it not? clinics are formed even staff in it has a duty to perform to save life and to console a poor soul, why then this generation aided by “Idolatry” of profit driven purpose is up coming a hell of fires…

    “Do you know how the devil makes bad things look good?,” it is in this like scenario that you will find always and see the evil serpent seeds at work in their minds, advocating a profit driven purpose, of bringing forth medical breakthroughs to happen in the world filled with greediness and corrupt practices…

    trying to look at how an angel can be in our midst .. it is herewith, a picture of two innocent minds, and a child to be born telling their heart breaking mother, the beauty of gods great wills, by merely a small comforting words that brings a heart a glow, “We will love her as long as she’s with us,” the children told their mother. good with this little creatures having, not of the right mindset, know exactly what worth is a life to be… such an angel in our midst that we may not know whence it came with in our midst, but in reality ii was always with us from the very beginnings, when St. Raphael the archangel, presented himself to Tobit as Azariah a kinsmen, it was in the same nature as this two little supportive kids nourishing a mother with Gods “love” for this little creatured baby… no wonder why many have not come to the truth of lifes worth, turn their heads away from god for they knew not the true nature of the image of god in every human being that had come to have been in life form…

  5. […] Here’s a Great article on a life affirming story of a mother with a disabled unborn child that cho… […]

  6. dancingcraneKeepong says:

    I have schizencephaly, which gives me mild cerebral palsy on one side. If they had caught it, they would probably have recommended abortion. I am a mom of 5, and I was counseled to abort my twins, for a medical condition that resolved in the womb. They were born healthy, but had they not been, we were prepared for whatever happened.

    They did counsel my MIL to abort my now-husband for “deformity”. He was born perfectly healthy.

    The availability of abortion has degraded us as human beings. You don’t even need to be religious to know that. There are plenty of atheists who know.

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