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Pennsylvania mother turns down abortion, chooses fetal surgery for unborn baby diagnosed with severe spina bifida

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Nine months later her baby is developmentally “right on schedule”

When Michelle Blaire of Hermitage, Pa. learned her unborn child had been diagnosed with the most severe form of spina bifida, she told WFMJ-TV she was given three options. “Abort—always the first one given,” she told reporter Caroline Collins— repair after birth, or “if she was a candidate,” in utero surgery.

As Collins reported, 68% of babies diagnosed with spina bifida are aborted–“A staggering statistic [the Blaires] would not be a part of.” This in spite of the dismissal predictions for a child born with spina bifida myelomeningocele, including paralysis and severe bladder problems.

They also ruled out surgery to repair after birth.

But the first hospital in Philadelphia turned them down, Collins reported. Fortunately, Cincinnati’s Children Hospital agreed to perform the in utero surgery.

At 25 weeks pregnant, Michelle had her uterus removed, operated on and put back inside of her for six more weeks.

“After the surgery, I had to remain in Cincinnati for six weeks while my husband and two kids were still in Hermitage,” said Michelle.

“I just wanted to be here for my family and for Michelle with all that she was going through,” said Ben.

But there was more to come. Just seven days before Michelle gave birth, “the unthinkable happens”– their home caught fire in the middle of the night and they lost everything. Then she goes into early labor.

Their baby—Caroline—was born in May, seven weeks early, weighing in at two pounds, nine ounces.

But after all that, Caroline, now nine months old, is “ progressing right on track.”

“She has not needed a shunt because her brain has stabilized she is developmentally right on track. She can move around, her bladder functions,” said Michelle.

“She is just like any other little girl, but she is our miracle,” said Ben.

Now, the family of four continues to pray for health and happiness.

“After what we went through and how much we prayed, we decided to make her middle name Faith,” said Michelle.

Collins ended her report saying the Blaires

“hope their story can help others who may receive a spina bifida diagnosis.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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