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Joni and Friends Blog

Why I Chose Life

” Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.”

Psalm 127:3

When we travel to developing countries, it’s not uncommon to find entire communities believing the lie that disability is either a punishment or a curse. As Americans, we feel shocked when we hear that babies born with a disability are left to die, buried alive, or thrown into a dumpster or trash heap. We wonder why other cultures can’t grab hold of the fact that every life is precious and has value; every life should be embraced and welcomed.

Yet right here on our own soil, we grapple with the very same questions – the very same doubts. When a baby is diagnosed with disabilities we cry out to God, “What did I do to deserve this? Haven’t I been faithful? Haven’t I served You well? Why would You do this to me?… to my baby?”

Those are the questions I asked the Lord when my baby, Sarah Hope, was diagnosed with Down syndrome, a very serious heart defect, and a slew of other genetic abnormalities when I was only four months pregnant with her. I knew what the Bible said about Sarah and about all babies – that they are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God; knit together by His own hands exactly as He intended them to be (Psalm 139:13-14; Genesis 1:27). But in that moment, it became painfully personal. No longer was I reading general Scriptural truth or thinking about other people’s suffering. This was about my baby. This was about me.

And right there in the midst of that diagnosis and the middle of all my confusion, my doctor was quick to offer abortion as a reasonable option for taking care of my problem. “In cases like these, Mrs. Amick, we recommend termination.” Period. End of discussion. But not the end of the wrestling match within my heart.

“Confidence in Jesus – the One who knows and authors everything – is what will silence our fears.”

The physician’s response to Sarah’s in utero diagnosis flew in the face of all I had learned and believed up to that time. Suggesting abortion was like a kick to my gut that in many ways served as my wake-up call.

Snapping out of my initial shock, I ran to the Bible and allowed the Word of God to speak truth to my soul. I was reminded that disability is not a punishment or a curse, and it has nothing to do with anyone’s lack of faith (see John 9:1-3). Every baby is a blessing and deserving of life because we are all equal in the eyes of the Lord, and even those who may be viewed as somehow “less-than” are truly indispensable and irreplaceable (1 Corinthians 12:14-23). All children – regardless of how many chromosomes, IQ points or working limbs they might have – are gifts from the Lord (Psalm 127:3).

I was scared, to be sure. Fear of the unknown can paralyze us if we allow it. But confidence in Jesus – the One who knows and authors everything – is what will silence our fears and give us the strength we need in order to follow His plan for our lives and for the lives of our unborn children.

Sometimes I think about the staggering abortion rates of preborn babies diagnosed with a disability. All the lives lost. All the miracles missed. The statistics are hard to determine, but a recent column for The Washington Post estimates that 67 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome prenatally are aborted in the United States.* The number of disabled babies who are given the opportunity to live out their full span of days is dwindling rapidly.

And that means that everyone is missing out on the love, the inspiration, and the absolute beauty that these children bring to their families and communities. My daughter, Sarah, is 14 years old now, and she has filled the last 14 years with unsurmountable joy… for me, for our family, for her classmates, church, and community. I cannot – I dare not – imagine this world without her in it.

I chose life for my precious baby all those years ago, and my life has been greatly enriched because I did. Sarah’s life has a powerful, God-given purpose – just like your life, and just like the lives of all those other babies diagnosed with disability while in the womb.

If you are wrestling with an abortion decision, or if you’re simply confused about how disability could possibly fit within God’s sovereign design, I pray you’ll read our new booklet: My Baby Has a Disability: Life-Giving Questions and Answers. In it I share the journey God took me on after hearing Sarah’s diagnosis. It’s full of the answers and resources you need in order to make informed and God-honoring decisions. Download your copy today… and fear not, for God is with you. he will strengthen you, help you and uphold you with His righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).

*(George F. Will, “The Real Down Syndrome Problem: Accepting Genocide,” The Washington Post, March 14, 2018.)

Written By: Shauna Amick

My Baby Has a Disability

Are you facing a devastating diagnosis for your baby? In the new booklet “My Baby Has a Disability: Life-Giving Questions and Answers,” Shauna Amick shares her story of having a child prenatally-diagnosed with Down syndrome. She invites you to dream new dreams of how God wants to display His glory in your child’s life and in yours.

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