A couple from Dublin who were told to have an abortion because their daughter has spina bifida are now fighting to give their “miracle girl” the best opportunities in life.
At their thirty-week scan, Claire McDaid and Jay Needham were told that their daughter had a badly deformed spine and would have no quality of life because her brain was badly swollen.
Doctors advised the couple to go to England to get an abortion. However, Claire had no intention of doing that and she gave birth to her daughter T.J. (named after her grandmothers Tina and Joan) in October 2020.
T.J. was diagnosed with spina bifida meningocele, meaning she would never have the ability to move her legs. Doctors informed Claire that her daughter wouldn’t live very long and they started planning the funeral.
“She’s the happiest wee girl, she reminds me of both her grannies”.
However, the “miracle princess” survived against all odds and has even shown promising signs of movement. Now her parents want to give her the best opportunity to get as much power in her legs as possible.
Mum, Claire, said: “We were told she would be paralysed from the waist down when she was born, but she can move her legs so we want to give her the best chance”.
“Ireland is very behind in spina bifida equipment and treatment, so we have to go abroad. We’ve only been to see a physio three times, but I’ve been doing as much as I can with her and she’s coming on fine”.
“It’s a different ball game in America, but if she gets treatment in Dublin she’ll be left in a wheelchair for her life”.
“But even if we don’t get enough for Boston, there’s a place in Hungary. We want the best for her, but unfortunately, it’s all about money, it’s awful”.
“She will be in pain if she’s left in a wheelchair, we want her to be able to dress herself, to walk and not waddle, and have her own wee life”.
“Her hip is out, she’s struggling to pull herself up. She needs one on one special physiotherapy and she won’t get it here”.
“The treatment and all the special equipment for her costs about €40,000 and we really want to give her the best chance, even if people spared a fiver, it would make such a difference”.
Right To Life UK spokesperson, Catherine Robinson, said: “Stories of babies like T.J. are so encouraging. They illustrate what we already knew – that people with disabilities can live full lives and can do far more than they are sometimes given credit for, especially with the right support”.
“The attitude of the doctors who told T.J.’s parents to get an abortion is all too common. So widespread is this attitude that the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists had to release guidelines last year emphasising the need for doctors to be “non-directive” when undertaking prenatal screening for disabilities. This attitude is grotesque in its views on people with disabilities and must change”.
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