To the Woman who Aborted Her Baby with Spina Bifida


Dear Woman,

First off, let me say that I am not writing this on an impulse. In fact, I have given this a lot of thought and have decided to give this situation a “grace period” in which I could cool off, reflect, cry, pray, gain perspective from others in your situation, and allow myself enough time in which to answer you without anger or bitterness.

Of course, this time has allowed me to be more merciful and fair to you. But please know that I needed this time as much as you did. It’s not easy to for me to process my emotions about an issue that is so personal to me.

But, you E-mailed me asking for advice and answers. After choosing to terminate your pregnancy of a child with spina bifida, you want my advice, my insight, my wisdom, on how to have a “healthy” baby.

How’s this?

I have nothing to offer you. No advice, no answers, no wisdom, no tips, no magic crystal ball to predict what your next child will be like. 

My first instinct, upon reading your E-mail to me, was to hate you. After all, you managed to break down wall after wall of cautious, precarious illusion of self-esteem that I have spent 28 years painstakingly building. And for 28 years, it has worked for me.


My Mami when she was about eight months pregnant with me. I am my parents’ only child.


When I first began blogging five years ago, I was moved by the many moms who contacted me. Most have had children with spina bifida, and some were pregnant with a baby with spina bifida, and wanted advice on how to handle the birth of a child with “special needs.” Or maybe they wanted solidarity; just the notion of knowing someone else out there in cyberspace can relate. I was elated at the idea of being able to help these women; give them a glimmer of hope for what the future held for their children. I offered them my friendship and unconditional support, and in return, I have been rewarded many times over by their reciprocity, their encouragement in my difficult times, and their genuine happiness at my triumphs.

Then I opened your E-mail. It’s as if five years’ worth of fortresses of support and encouragement from these moms and little white lies I told myself quickly eroded around me. I was exposed. Vulnerable. You shattered my illusion of invincibility.

I built a community of support and encouragement, of sharing knowledge along with the good, the bad, and the ugly about spina bifida. Women all over the world contact me to thank me for simply sharing my story, trivial as it may seem to many. Because the story of my normal yet fulfilling life gives them hope. It helps them to know their children can aspire to this.

And yet, I cannot help you, because you aborted your baby. You cut the common thread we would have shared. Now all I see is a large, dark chasm between us, because I am nothing like you. 

No, I am that child with spina bifida, the one you chose to abort. I look in the mirror, and I see the life that was discarded because it wasn’t deemed worthy of living.

And you ask me for advice because you don’t want your next baby to turn out like me.

And I am angry beyond words. Because in spite of all I have accomplished in my life, no one wants to have a child like me.

Not even my own mother would have wanted that. But she did.


I was about 18 months old in this picture. Whether or not Mami envisioned having a baby with spina bifida, she and I have always been thick as thieves.


And that, plain and simple, is what frightens me the most. That maybe, just maybe, your story and my mother’s are not all that different. You each won the lottery that no one wants to win.

I wish you well…and maybe next time, take a second glance at your lottery ticket.

21 Replies to “To the Woman who Aborted Her Baby with Spina Bifida”

  1. It saddens me that so many people in society view any type of disability as unworthy. When I see my girls I just can’t imagine life with out them. They are beautiful, smart, funny, and just as worthy of love and life as everyone else. I just don’t understand why it matters that they use a wheelchair. I think a big issue is that doctors tell people so much doom and gloom and moms honestly think they are doing what is best. I just can’t fathom thinking that, but I think I’ve heard the lectures by doctors and I get that they paint a very dim picture. The whole thing just saddens me.

  2. Had I received that same e-mail, I would have had the same gut reaction that you did. It Could Have Been ME!!!! And I applaud your decision to think it over before you responded. I’m not so sure I would have been as well spoken and kind as you were. Outstanding response. Enough said.

  3. I couldn’t agree more with you. Was this the baby that was aborted when she was 7 months pregnant? I was given the option to abort our daughter after our 20week scan; and to my hubby and I it was just unthinkable. Our Abi is now 5 years old and the love of our lives. It made me cry just reading this. FIND SOLICE IN THE FACT THAT YOU WERE AND ARE LOVED XX

  4. You are such a good writer! I feel exactley the same when I here about women who have aborted their child because of SB (wich most of them do in Norway, where I come from). The worst thing is when they say that they did it “for the best of the child” because of surgeries, hospital stays etc… I would never change my life, it has given me so many positive things!

    Keep up the good work your doing advocating for SB. You have followers from all over the world 🙂

  5. Tears roll down my face as I reread your very eloquent powerful words that will give strength to other young women.

    I too have spina bifida but am many years older than you. I reached out to you a few months ago and will try to be more participatory. Your words resonated on so many levels.

    I would like to find a way to be more active in working with the spina bifida community more. This empowers me and do realize now that this dialogue needs to continue.

    Do you work with your local spina bifida group, national group, etc?
    You give me so much to think about.

  6. my name is susan kenyan in east a mother of 3 girls and the third one is 2yrs old and has this condition..her name is olive..shes an angel to me..and a fighter..i have a story i would love to share with whoever knows what goes on when u discover you r carrying a baby with this condition..i almost aborted. her..n almost abandoned her at the email is

  7. so very very well delivered. I am 40 years old with spina bifida. I am sitting on my couch in tears. Tears for expectant moms who live in fear that they may deliver a child with an disability, tears for people with spina bifida who have done incredible things with what God has given them.
    We are all on this earth for a purpose and not one human is “perfect”. We ALL are imperfect.

  8. ay mujer, I was floored when I saw you post about this email. I have never had to deal with something even close to this, and having met you only once, I know how much positivity you project and have seen how far your dedication has gone! Thank you for posting this response, you help those not even affected by this to stop and reflect. Cariños…

  9. Beautifully written with that trademark grace of yours. I don’t have the temperament to handle situations like this with any sort of eloquence, so kudos to you for resisting the urge to metaphorically tear her a new one. I hope that this person only put a dent in your armor and you don’t dwell too much on this, you’re far too wonderful to suffer fools. Keep doing what you’re doing, it matters and helps so many people.

  10. My son is almost 3 and his dad and I could not imagine our life without him he is perfect and has so much to offer and he is always happy and smiling no matter what and he is so smart and constantly learning and thriving just like any other 2 yr old he just does somethings differently but we wouldn’t change him for the world I wish things were easier for him but I wouldn’t change him and if nothing else being his mother has made me a better person. So to the mother who aborted her child because he was different how would it make you feel if everyone here decided you don’t deserve life because we don’t like the way you look or how you speak or just dislike you as a person should we be allowed to kill you ?

  11. This is so deep! my son is 14 years old, spina bifida and Hydro, this is so true, but I also blamed on the Doctors and the people that does not know what spina fibida is, my son was born in my country, Guatemala, and beginning with Drs everybody’s recomendation was an abortion, but it never was in our mind, now at the day my son is an amazing kid, he plays wheelchair basketball, he is being in tournaments all over USA, and is very charmy well educated boy, I am so happy to have my adorable HIJO. thanks for sharing.

    1. Gracias a ti, Gilmar! It means a lot to me. I’m sure you’ve raised a wonderful boy with many talents and abilities. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your story with me.


      Laurita 🙂

  12. Wow, that woman sounds like a piece of work. I am glad you crafted such an eloquent response. I have no idea how I would respond if I received such a rude and crass email like that. ¡Coño!

  13. I am sitting at my computer with tears flowing own my face. It’s as if I was reading my own thoughts & feelings. You see, I was born with spina bifida & hydrocephalus. My parents moved Heaven and Earth to get me the medical help I needed. I’m grateful for that every day. I am now a teacher of students with special needs. I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.

  14. I have no words, because you said EVERY THING that needed saying. Thank you mujer! Así es, little girl to amazing band inspiring woman. As a mother of children with special needs, you honor me with this heartfelt post.

  15. I remember when you posted on Facebook about this email. I couldn’t believe someone would ask you that. What I’m not surprised about is how you handled the situation. Laurita, your voice is so powerful. All I can say is: thank you for sharing it with us.

  16. There is a difference between not wanting a child with disabilities and not wanting a child to suffer a disability. The fact is all children will suffer something at some point in their lives. A parent’s job is to prepare them to be all that they can be. Obviously, your mother did a fantastic job and you are paying it forward by helping others learn to help their children overcome obstacles. I don’t know whether this mother thought she was doing the “right” thing for her unborn child, but the world is diminished when a child is lost.

  17. I have a very hard time coming up with mercy for these stories. Increasingly it seems all the progress made in the 80’s to advocated for babies with SB is being reversed with Dr’s painting impossibly grim pictures of their futures. Our son was born in 1985. We went on to have 9 more children. Every one has blessed and enriched our lives and they all look up to their big brother – an introspective, hipster, English major. Yes, his health brought a lot of challenges. Major challenges. But life just does. We know as many people whose babies were born with a clean bill of health and later had an accident or disease which changed the course of their lives. Life happens. There are no throwaway people in our opinion and we are ALL fatally flawed. We all live parts of our lives very dependent upon others – as infants, during convalescence, as we age. That should never be used as an excuse to end a life. We are more than what we do.

  18. Thank you! Thank you for writing this.

    We are pregnant with a precious little girl with SB. Yes, it was scary when diagnosed, because I don’t know much about SB and didn’t know what was on the road ahead. But nothing and no one will take this sweet life away from me without a fight.

    I just stumbled across a forum of mothers who aborted their babies because of the SB diagnosis and I was horrified. “I won’t allow my baby to suffer in life” and other completely foolish statements turned my stomach. Guess what, your decision to kill that baby is a selfish one. Don’t go acting like it isn’t. You are sparing yourself whatever ‘hardship’ you think this life will bring you – because every baby born into this life will have some suffering (SB or not). Because every blog written by amazing people like you and mothers living with their children with SB are beautiful stories of love and joy and little ones who bless the lives of those around them a thousand times more than so many “normal” children do. I’m angry too. I’m angry that I have to start every appt with a specialist out with “FYI we are not killing our child so please don’t mention termination” because I shouldn’t have to say that!! My child’s life is just as precious and unique as any one that you deem “normal and perfect”.

    So thank you for writing this. I needed it just now. I don’t know everything that you have been through but I hope my baby girl has half of your strength and a dedication to speak the truth.

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