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In Connecticut, a surrogate mother, Crystal Kelley, was offered $10,000 to abort the child she was carrying for over five months. A couple made that request of Kelley after an ultrasound revealed that the baby would be born with a series of disabilities: a cleft lip and palate, a cyst in her brain, serious heart defects and an absent spleen.

According to CNN, the parents stated that the interventions required to manage the baby’s medical problems are too overwhelming for an infant, and that it is a more humane option to consider pregnancy termination. Interestingly enough, the family explored surrogacy in the first place in order to minimize the risk of pain and suffering for their child; they already have three kids that were born prematurely with intensive medical conditions. The hope was for something better with their fourth child.

Kelley issued a letter to the parents expressing her opposition to the abortion which resulted in a series of legal nightmares. The terms also proposed that in cases of any severe fetus abnormalities, the surrogate would be obligated to terminate the pregnancy. Refutable letters were released from Kelley’s party simply stating that she will not be receiving the abortion. Ultimately, if Kelley decided to keep the child, the contract breach would free the parents-to-be from their roles as legal guardians.

With both parties standing at opposite battlefields, Kelley weakened by requesting a pay of $15,000, in addition to the set fees, to consider having the abortion. Her request was short lived as the parents soon announced their plan to take full custody of the child, immediately surrendering her to the state of Connecticut soon after birth. Under Connecticut’s Safe Haven Act for Newborns, parents can voluntarily give up custody of a baby less than a month old without being arrested for child abandonment.

Having the child in foster care was the last straw for Kelley, who fled to Michigan with the intentions of keeping the child. With no job and no consistent place to live, it was pretty unimaginable for her to provide a stable and grounded foundation. Through emotional supporting groups, Kelley soon found a couple who had experience caring for special need children and expressed their will to adopt.

After the birth, the medical conditions far exceeded what the doctors anticipated. The cardiac procedures the child needs are risky, and her heterotaxy and holoprosencephaly, though mild, carry a risk of early death. If the child does survive, there is a 50% chance she won’t be able to walk, talk or use her hands normally.

In addition to the facial abnormalities, she’s very small, weighing only 11 pounds and she gets food through a tube directly into her stomach so she’ll grow faster.

“I can’t tell you how many people told me that I was bad, that I was wrong, that I should go have an abortion, that I would be damned to hell,” Kelley told CNN.

In the end, she feels confident in her decision. “No one else was feeling this pregnancy the way that I was. No one else could feel her kicking and moving around inside,” she stated. “I knew from the beginning that this little girl had an amazing fighting spirit, and whatever challenges were thrown at her, she would go at them with every ounce of spirit that she could possibly have. […] No matter what anybody told me, I became her mother.”

Kelley endured insurmountable sacrifice to ensure the life of this child. In a decision that ultimately wasn’t hers to make, her course of action comes at a cost. Was it worth bringing a life into this world that will be subjected to constant medical battles and endless health risks?

As women, we automatically over stress the “what if’s.” Will I one day be able to sustain a healthy pregnancy? Could I be barren? What procedures do I need to take to ensure that I can produce a healthy primal child? How do I really feel about surrogacy?

As parents, our number one priority is to ensure our children have opportunities and are able to live a normal and healthy life. We want to be able to enrich others with tales of happy parenting; gawking over our child’s first steps, and providing an environment where are children can enjoy life fully without the burden of medical complications.

What do you think Clutchettes? Is Crystal Kelley a Savior or not?

-Nikki B.

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  • au napptural

    I can’t respond to everyone individually, but the highlights:

    -As to adoption not being a perfect solution. In general, yes, more white people want white babies and there aren’t enough. I don’t agree with trans racial adoption, except as a last resort, so I say right on. But in this case I think the parents were too selfish to even investigate adoption. It would’ve cost about the same amount and they could’ve gotten a completely healthy child. But they didn’t b/c adoption requires oversight. These people obviously wanted to do whatever they wanted. And I’d question whether they were even capable of giving another child their attention with 3 disabled children already.

    -The surrogate DID NOT give the child to foster care. The child was adopted by a family who was prepared for her disabilities. Her own parents wanted to pretend to take her back and then leave her in the state’s care. WTF

    -If these people were so hot on not having disabled children after three, they should’ve stopped trying. Common sense should’ve told you if 100% of the children were disabled this one would be too. And it bothers me they built that into the surrogacy contract. They ONLY wanted a non-disabled child. I know it requires sacrifice and all, but this is your flesh and blood. How could you, after five months of watching it grow, just kill it. Or try to give it away.

    -Yes, the surrogate signed a contract, but this is the problem. It’s a unique situation. You sign an emotionless contract before you have the child growing in you, before you bond with it. The whole thing is Russian Roulette. You never know how experiencing the pregnancy will change someone.

    -And on top of that legally, some contracts aren’t binding. For example, I could never, as a private citizen, agree to cover up a murder. I couldn’t make a contract selling myself to anyone, even if they paid me (except in Nevada). Since the contract violates the law, it is null and void on its face. B/c abortion has been ruled a privacy issue, it probably isn’t constitutional to compel someone to get one. Even if someone agreed and changed their minds, the courts would never force them to go through with it.