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Prenatal testing can lead to presure


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When Mary Kellett was pregnant with her 11th child, an ultrasound showed signs of Trisomy 18, a chromosomal disorder which is usually fatal. Doctors wanted her to have an amniocentesis to confirm the diagnosis; she refused because of the risks amniocentesis can pose to the baby.

When Peter was born seven weeks premature, he was treated as any premature infant would be—until it was confirmed that he had Trisomy 18. At that point, she said, medical staff advised her to stop all treatment and “let him go.” All Trisomy 18 babies die within two weeks, they told her.

Kellett again refused. “I wanted him treated like any other infant. Today, Peter is a happy 2½-year-old, with a bubbly laugh and a sweet personality. He has significant physical and mental delays, but for the Minnesota family, “he is a pure gift.”

After her experience, she started Prenatal Partners for Life, offering parents a forum to tell their stories to offer support to mothers who have learned their unborn baby has some kind of condition.

“When they get a diagnosis of Down Syndrome or something, they really feel pressure to have an abortion,” she said. “They talk a lot about everything these kids can’t do. They never talk about what they can do. Peter has taught us about compassion and courage and love—everything Jesus came here to teach us. In God’s eyes, these are perfect children.”

Kellett supports a bill introduced in the Senate in July by Sen. Sam Brownback (RKans.) and co-sponsored by Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) That would require doctors to give parents accurate, up-to-date information about any conditions diagnosed in an unborn or newborn baby, including referrals to parents of children who have children with the same condition. For more information, visit