I'm very grateful to have been asked to join the list of contributors to Her.meneutics. I have worked as a full-time religion reporter, but I also veer off into related topics, such as a piece I did for Mother's Day on women who decide not to abort their handicapped children.

I got the idea for that article the way I get ideas for most of my columns and news articles: I get around, I talk with people, I experience things. I was hearing from various pro-life women about genetics counselors from hell who, once they learn you are pregnant with a deformed child, are on you in two seconds to abort. Which is why many such women were patronizing Catholic hospitals and clinics, where they knew they would not be pressured to get rid of their child. I looked into the matter and found a pile of websites and sources - many of them from women who chose to bear such children - geared to support difficult pregnancies. One thing I like to do in my work is highlight a group or point of view that doesn't often get mentioned in the media, so I embarked on learning what it's like to bear a child, only to have him or her die that same day.

The parents in my story all said they were so glad to have continued their pregnancies, because at least they had photos of these children to carry with them forever. With an abortion, there are no photos.

I had encountered parents of such children back in the mid-1990s during the partial-birth abortion debates on Capitol Hill. I met parents who had been told they needed a horrific third-term abortion, only to learn that their child's health was not terminal. One couple hoisted a boy about 10 months old who had some of his organs outside his body when he was born. Yes, his tummy looked like a train track, but ...

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