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Mother joins Lord Shinkwin calling for law change on disability abortion

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A mother whose son survived despite being born with almost no brain has joined forces with parliamentarian Lord Shinkwin, campaigning for a change in the law on disability abortion.

Women who are told their baby will have a disability are allowed under the 1967 Abortion Act to abort up to birth – but the limit for healthy babies is 24 weeks.

Shelly Wall, 45, believes all lives should be valued and respected equally.

Mother told five times to abort

Shelly's son, Noah, developed congenital hydrocephalus at birth, caused by spina bifida. He was born with only 2% of his brain.

Doctors told Shelly five times to abort Noah. Shelly refused, but prepared for the worst, even planning Noah’s funeral.

'Developed beyond all expectation'

But Noah survived the odds.

After he was born, doctors performed emergency surgery to close the opening at the bottom of his spine and to drain fluid from his empty brain cavity.

Amazingly, Noah's brain developed "beyond all expectation", with brain scans showing its development to 80% of normal capacity.

He is now five years old, and despite being wheelchair-bound due to spina bifida, he is happy, chatty and popular. He can count to 10, is learning to read and write, and interacts socially with other children at his local primary school. 

Noah's father, Rob is determined that Noah will one day be able to walk, either with mechanical aids, or without.

'You can't ever know'

Earlier this year, Channel 5 broadcast a documentary following Noah’s story: 'The Boy Who Grew A New Brain'.

Neurosurgeon Dr Nicholson commented: "He teaches the medical profession that you can't ever know."

'Noah’s a perfect baby to me'

Shelly, from Abbeytown, Cumbria, has urged mothers not to abort babies because of their disability. "It is not about having the perfect baby. What is a perfect baby?

"Noah’s a perfect baby to me. Mothers who abort their disabled baby’s life will miss out on a very special relationship."

'Do you love a child any less because it’s disabled?'

She continued: "It didn’t cross my mind to contemplate termination. When you create a life with a person you love and you wanted to have a baby with, then you love that child. It was a child conceived in love. Do you love a child any less because it’s disabled?

"We didn’t know how long we’d have with him – minutes, days, months – we had no idea. I feel that all disabled children should be given a chance. Noah is normal to me.

"He’s my son. We need to treat disabled people with respect and treat them like human beings."

Mrs Wall, who has two other children - Ally, 20, and Steph, 25, said that she treasured every moment with her son despite knowing he might die.

'It’s eugenics'

She is working with Lord Shinkwin, who is himself disabled, to bring in 'Noah's Law'. Last month, Lord Shinkwin’s Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill, which aimed to reduce the limit for disability abortion to 24 weeks, was defeated in the House of Lords.

Lord Shinkwin commented: "The tragedy is that some in the medical establishment still see disability as a tragedy to be eradicated by abortion. It’s eugenics.

"What no one can explain is why after birth I’m good enough for the Queen to send me to the House of Lords while before birth I’m only good for the incinerator."

Related Links:
Mother with disabled son calls for curb to abortion law (Mail)
Parents told five times to abort boy with 'no brain' - now he's a thriving 4-year-old (Lifesite news)
Boy with 'no brain' stuns doctors as he learns to count and attends school in touching new documentary (Mirror)


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