Birth Defects

One reason many women have abortions is because of diagnosed birth defects in the baby. According to some sources birth defects account for about 6% of all abortions.

As the number of women taking antidepressants during pregnancy skyrocketed from about 1 to about 13% in three years, this number may be going up. Many different kinds of prescription drugs have been shown to cause birth defects but this is an example of one type of drug that can be hard to stop taking due to withdrawal. It is just one example of a factor playing into the decisions of many women to have an abortion.

Although some birth defects may in some cases be 100% fatal to the baby that does not mean you should automatically have an abortion if you are told your baby probably has one of the fatal birth defects.

One thing that you should know is that sometimes medical tests are wrong and sometimes there is lab error.

I am sharing some personal stories of women in my life without revealing anyone’s name but I promise you that these are true stories.

A woman was told her baby had a fatal condition Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder. As she was preparing to go have an abortion, a lab employee called to tell her there had been a mistake. The baby had been misdiagnosed and did not have any type of fatal condition at all. The baby was perfectly healthy according to the tests and the result had been a complete mistake (a false positive). The mother was relieved and of course decided not to have the abortion.

Another common reason for elective abortion is due to an anticipated or potential birth defect.

Many drugs and medications can cause birth defects, but they do not uniformly cause them, and the birth defects are not always fatal.

Another pregnant woman was told that because she was still taking Lithium (which she started taking prior to the pregnancy after going through a psychotic episode), her baby might develop a heart condition that was inoperable. The doctor and husband encouraged her to have an abortion. Although the mother really didn’t want the abortion she believed the baby had a strong chance of dying at birth, so she went along with it. It could be argued that she was not competent to consent in this state and that the doctor who recommended the abortion and the husband did all the consenting for her.

If your baby has not been diagnosed with a birth defect but you have been told that your baby may develop one and you might want to terminate just in case, please rethink that decision. Get a second opinion, or more tests done. The tests available to us today compared to even ten or twenty years ago are much more thorough. Although they can give false positives and you want to be sure to get those done more than once if they come back positive, they can also rule out birth defects. So please don’t just choose abortion because you have been told your baby might have been badly exposed to something and may be born with a defect.

Many conditions which were inoperable decades ago are no longer so and not all defects require surgery.

In addition, consider the source. Is the person recommending an abortion the same person who prescribed a drug that he is telling you might cause a birth defect? If he is encouraging an abortion it is probably in order to avoid liability were the baby to be born full-term with a defect, because you can’t be liable for harm to a baby that the mother chose to abort. Moreover, the same person who prescribed the drug without warning you not to become pregnant or without giving you proper tapering protocols to avoid a bad withdrawal is the one who put you and your baby in harm’s way to begin with.

To see some of the reports of drug-related elective abortions as well as miscarriage (involuntary spontaneous abortions) go here.

Some women choose not to have an abortion for personal or religious reasons even if they are certain that their baby has a fatal birth defect or genetic disorder. You should think about how you want to handle this if it happens to you and not simply make a decision that someone else wants and pressures you to go along with. Do what your heart tells you that you can live with without regret.

Here are some photos of babies born with antidepressant-induced birth defects. While craniosynostosis and omphalocele are not uniformly fatal, anencephaly (no forebrain) is 100% fatal. If you are on antidepressants or some other dangerous prescription drug and pregnant please consider finding a safe tapering regime for the sake of your baby.


Craniosynostosis - an operable birth defect

Omphalocele - an operable birth defect

Omphalocele - an operable birth defect

Anencephaly - 100% fatal - Side Effect of Antidepressants

Anencephaly - 100% fatal - Side Effect of Antidepressants

What struck me the most about this photo is how the baby with no forebrain and a large portion of the skull missing looks like any other child (aside from the eyes and top of the head) and has a face and body just like all other children. I can’t help but be happy that the parents of this baby did the best that they could for him despite the circumstances. As horrible as this is I am glad that the baby didn’t die an even more horrible death.

  1. February 5th, 2014

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