British mom refuses abortion for one of her twin daughters; both are now thriving

By Danielle Jarvis
baby feet

A British mom of twins has refused to abort one of her twin daughters, despite her being diagnosed with a disability. Both little girls are now thriving.

Marie Stockdale from Penrith, Cumbria fell pregnant in 2022 and at first, everything was fine.

But at the 20-week scan, the doctor discovered something was seriously wrong. One of the two girls, Ava, had a lot more fluid surrounding her body than her sister did.

Following investigations, they diagnosed that Ava had a condition called Oesophageal atresia and tracheooesophageal fistula.

These conditions mean Ava’s little oesophagus was not properly joined up with her digestive system and so she wasn’t swallowing the amniotic fluid as she should’ve been.

In additional, Ava was diagnosed with rhombencephalosynapsis, a rare brain condition that can cause cerebral palsy.

Marie said because the condition was so serious, she was offered an abortion. But she said:

It was never an option… I had to give her a chance to fight.
Marie Stockdale Mum of Ava

In the end, Ava had surgery the same day she was born and it was successful. She also had to be on a ventilator and then underwent further surgery to fix her aorta and sternum to help her breathe properly.

At 8 weeks old, Ava was well enough to go home. At 9 months old, she needs help controlling her movement but is getting stronger and stronger.

Cur­rent British abor­tion law

Under current abortion law in England and Wales, it’s legal to abort a baby up to 24 weeks in most circumstances. It’s legal to abort up to birth in cases of ‘serious handicap’. This has been interpreted to include treatable disabilities like club foot and cleft lip.

Abortion is also available under the same limits in Scotland. In Northern Ireland, the law is even more permissive although the provision of abortion has not been fully implemented.

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