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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Surrogate Mother's Baby Should Never Have Been Born

Ashima Agrawal |
March 17, 2013 | 8:20 a.m. PDT


Editor's Note: This article was originally published on Neon Tommy on March 10.

The child, like the one in this picture, was born with a cleft lip and palate, along with many other serious health problems. (King97tut, Wikimedia Commons)
The child, like the one in this picture, was born with a cleft lip and palate, along with many other serious health problems. (King97tut, Wikimedia Commons)

If you had the option to save your unborn child from never leading a normal life, would you do it? What if you were not actually a parent of this child? What if you were this child's surrogate mother?

Crystal Kelley agreed to be a surrogate mother for a couple, and was being paid $2,222 a month for her troubles. After an ultrasound, she and the couple discovered that the child would be born with a cleft lip and palate, a cyst in her brain and serious heart defects. Rather than condeming the child to a miserable, short life, the couple decided that Kelley should abort the fetus. Kelley had a different opinion.

After claiming that it was against her religious and moral values to abort the fetus, Kelley and the couple haggled over the abortion of the unborn child. Kelley refused the couple's offer of $10,000 to abort the fetus, but said she would consider it for $15,000 before ultimately deciding against abortion and fleeing to another state. She gave birth to the child in Michigan, against the couple's wishes.

The baby girl has even more complicated medical issues than the ultrasound predicted. The couple already have three children, two of whom were born prematurely and had to spend the first months of their lives in the hospital, and still have medical problems. The couple wanted their fourth child to have a better life. The unborn fetus is not the surrogate's child, even though it is her body. The couple does not have a right to say what happens to her body, but they do have a right to say what happens to the fetus. That better life they wanted for their fourth child is something that Kelley denied them and the baby.

At least the baby girl was adopted into a family familiar with caring for children with special needs. For the short life she is expected to live, she will be surrounded by people who love her. But she should never have been born. She should never have been denied a life without pain and normalcy. If I had the option to save a child from hardship by never bringing them into the world, I would.

People's views on abortion are often motivated by politics or religion, or both, and neglect to take into consideration the reason people consider abortion an option, and take it, in the first place. Sometimes, we all need to take a step back and put politics and religion aside. Think: if you had the option to save a child from a life of pain and suffering, would you do it? I would.


Read an article in which Contributor Ashima Agrawal explains why she changed her position on this issue, "Change Of Opinion: Surrogate Crystal Kelley Made Right Decision,"  here.

Reach Contributor Ashima Agrawal here.


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Anonymous (not verified) on March 17, 2013 3:30 PM

Who defines what a "normal" life is? Health matters are not the only things that dictate how well a person can live their life. Think of how unhappy supposedly "normal, healthy" people are. I work with people with special needs and they are FAR happier than any people I see around campus and they deserve every bit of an opportunity to live. People who abort a child because they don't fit in with the norm are selfish and cowardly.