Miriam's Blessing Offers Care in the Face of Poor Prenatal Diagnoses

By St. Joseph County Right to Life | August 21, 2017, 2:34pm

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Recent news from Iceland just highlighted that Down syndrome was 100% removed from their country.  This was accomplished however, not by curing the disease or healing the children, but rather through selective abortions. ​


As humans, we know that prenatal testing can be inaccurate. The testing for Down’s syndrome is only 85% accurate, meaning that 15% of children thought to have Down syndrome in the womb are born without it. Still, in Iceland’s case, these 15% of individuals who falsely test positive are killed because of a bias and prejudice against children with disabilities. 


Nonetheless, ALL life matters.  Regardless of a person’s ability or disability, regardless of their skin color or economic background, regardless of their age or mental capacity, it is vital to value and love all life. 


In St. Joseph County, there is a newly developed program, Miriam’s Blessing, which is helping families in the process of receiving an adverse prenatal diagnosis.  As the ministry states, “More than 100,000 expectant couples each year receive the devastating news of a so-called poor prenatal diagnosis. It may be the detection of a heart defect, Spina Bifida, or a genetic disorder such as Down syndrome, Trisomy 18 or Trisomy 13, but whatever the diagnosis, shocked and bereaved parents have lost the baby and the pregnancy they had anticipated. With little or no information or resources available that support the option of carrying the baby to term, many of these pregnancies end in abortion. When offered a service of comprehensive support, however, parents more often chose to carry to term.”  

Based on the national program, Be Not Afraid, Miriam’s Blessing offers support through three distinct phases: the pregnancy, the birth, and the postpartum period. The focus of support changes as the pregnancy progresses and as parents move from diagnosis to anticipation of the birth and whatever lies beyond. To expectant parents, the team offers unique insight and sensitivity regarding such difficult issues as mourning the loss of the anticipated baby, maintaining hope when a prognosis is poor, stillbirth, and neonatal critical care.


For more information, please contact the South Bend area coordinator, Lisa Everett, by email: lisaanneverett@sbcglobal.net, or by phone: (574) 234-0687.