When I was about 4 months gestation inside my mother, my parents got an Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) test. This test lets parents know if the baby has a chance of being born with certain genetic disorders, such as spina bifida and Down Syndrome. When my mother got the phone call from her doctor with the results, it wasn’t good. Little baby Calley tested with a high chance for Trisomy 18, more commonly known as Edwards Syndrome. Babies with this disorder usually don’t live more than a few weeks, and many mothers choose to abort their babies after a positive diagnosis.
My parents were told the results were not conclusive, and they realized they had three options: verify the diagnosis through an invasive amniocentesis, which could be dangerous for my mom at 35 years old; carry me to term without confirming the diagnosis, and potentially give birth to a baby that would die after a few weeks; or avoid the riskiness of an amnio and the anxiety of a potentially doomed 9 month pregnancy…and abort me.
My parents were emphatic: abortion was not an option. They chose the amnio so that they could emotionally prepare themselves and those closest to them should I be one of those babies with Trisomy 18. In the waiting period between the AFP results and the amnio results, my parents and their community prayed relentlessly for me. And the results came back negative: I did not have Trisomy 18 and I was a healthy baby girl.
Despite all of the leaps in medical science in the past two decades, today’s prenatal tests can also be inconclusive, just like mine was. Yet these tests are marketed as nearly infallible, leading mothers to make life or death decisions about their unborn children without accurate information. Our first article in this edition of Family North Carolina magazine addresses this dangerous and widely unknown disaster. “Death by Uncertainty” is for babies like me…babies whose lives may hang on the result of an inconclusive test. My parents never dreamed of aborting me for a moment, no matter my diagnosis. But for the parents who are less determined, or who may be more pressured by their doctors, a positive prenatal test for Prager Willi or Down Syndrome, for example, could be synonymous with abortion, even if they want a child.
As Christians, we know that every life is precious. No diagnosis—accurate or not—means a life loses its value. We fight eugenic abortions because we believe this to our core. But if we are to hold the prenatal testing industry accountable for its hand in abortion, we must be equipped with the information. So, I encourage you to share this magazine with your friends and family, but especially with couples who may be thinking of starting/expanding their family. Lives may be saved.
Our second and third articles tackle a hot-button issue of the past year: parental rights. We’ve all likely seen or heard of parents standing up against the tide of radical gender ideology and inappropriate sexuality education in public schools and children’s entertainment. The 2021-2022 legislative session has been a landmark year for parental rights legislation across the country, and in “Fighting for Fundamental Rights,” we hear from the nation’s leading parental rights organization about how parents and legislators alike are stepping up to defend this fundamental right. In the companion article Mama Bear 101, a North Carolina mother of four shares concrete tips for how parents can become informed and equipped advocates for their children in this dangerous world.
Finally, as the North Carolina General Assembly—like many other state legislatures—considers a bill to legalize marijuana for “medical” use, “The Medical Marijuana Myth” destroys the lie that is at the heart of this legislative push: that marijuana is/can be effective medicine.
Thank you for reading Family North Carolina. We hope you enjoy the content found inside this edition, and please reach out to us at NC Family to request more copies to share with friends, family, neighbors, churches, and more!
Calley Mangum is the Communications Director for the North Carolina Family Policy Council and is Editor of Family North Carolina.