Wednesday 23 December 2009

Boy without an upper brain celebrates first birthday amidst love and hate

Nicholas Coke, a boy from Colorado, America, has turned one year old despite being born without an upper brain, a condition known as anencephaly. In August I blogged on the similar case of Marcela de Jesus Galante Ferreira, a girl with anencephaly who lived for one year and eight months, much longer than most infants born with the condition.

Alison Davis of No Less Human, a group within SPUC representing disabled people, sent me her reaction to the news of Nicholas' first birthday:
"Nicholas Coke's achievement in reaching his first birthday despite having virtually no brain is not just a miracle for his young mother, Sheena. He is a reminder to the world that disabled people matter, that we can surprise you whatever the doctors say, that the doctors prognosis is not always right (indeed it is very often wrong), and that every life, however short or disabled is precious. Nicholas' mother explains that although he can do very little, by his very existence he has changed lives and brought many people to understand the value of every human being. Abortion prevents over 90% of anencephalic babies from giving the joy, hope and surprise to their families and others, that Nicolas has brought to so many. He encapsulates both the tragedy of abortion, and the joy inherent in every life allowed to be lived."
One online report of Nicholas' birthday is followed by readers' comments, which include comments in stark contrast to Alison's:
  • "It seems kinda strange to spend so much time and effort keeping this vegetable alive ... Even a pet would be a better subject of the family's affections."
  • "It's just a brainless piece of meat ... [T]hrow that worthless crap machine in a dumpster."
  • "He's not a miracle. That's a waste of money for the parents"
In the face of such anti-life hate, it is a tragedy when politicians fail to protect disabled children in their policy positions.

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