25-year-old Kamelia Walters was pregnant with her second daughter when she went to St. George’s Hospital in London for a routine ultrasound in January of 2016. That’s when doctors told her that her baby appeared to have Osteogenesis Imperfecta Type III, also known as Brittle Bone Disease, and advised her to abort. Walters refused.
“The consultant came in and said her bones were fractured in the womb,” Walters told The Sun. “[…] I was so scared when I first got told. They started telling me I could get an abortion. I was just petrified when I came home that day.”
The bones of those with the condition are delicate and can break very easily. The condition can also cause loss of hearing or sight, bone deformity, spinal curvatures, and problems with breathing. Brittle Bone Disease is difficult to live with on a daily basis, but people who live with the condition lead successful, normal lives. UK lawmaker Lord Kevin Shinkwin is one of those people.
“I can see from the trends in abortion on grounds of disability that the writing is on the wall for people like me,” Shinkwin said in 2017. “People with congenital disabilities are facing extinction. If we were animals, perhaps we might qualify for protection as an endangered species. But we are only human beings with disabilities, so we don’t qualify.”
Walters and her partner Lamar Anderson were told by doctors that in order to know for certain whether or not their preborn daughter had Brittle Bone Disease they would need to do testing that had the risk of causing a miscarriage. Walters turned down the testing and said she would carry her child to term regardless.
Walters gave birth to her baby girl, named Kyla-Shae, and doctors told her that the baby girl was healthy.
She told The Sun, “I said, ‘She doesn’t look like there’s anything wrong with her’ and I just started crying. I knew already somehow that there was nothing wrong with her and when she was born it just confirmed it.”
Kyla-Shae is now 18 months old, and while Walters is relieved and happy that her daughter doesn’t have Brittle Bone Disease, she is also angry that the hospital advised her to abort her child.
Doctors are, unfortunately, often quick to diagnosis conditions prenatally and abortions are performed without allowing parents the time to seek advice from specialists or undergo further testing. In reality, even if Kyla-Shae had been born with Brittle Bone Disease, her life would still be worthy of living. No parent should be told that their child doesn’t deserve to be born.
St. George’s Hospital told The Sun that while they couldn’t comment on Walter’s specific case, they “would welcome the opportunity to meet with her on an individual basis to discuss the concerns she has raised.”
By Nancy Flanders