Written by Mike Roche’s father: Bill Roche, A parishioner of St. Mary Star of the Sea, Diocese of Venice
Laura and Nick both came from large families and when they married imagined a large family for themselves. Initially their desire was thwarted by endometriosis. After her diagnosis, Laura had surgery and within a few months was pregnant. Laura said, “We were over the moon to meet our first child.” At 14 weeks, an ultrasound confirmed a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Laura describes the dark analysis by the doctor: “I’m sorry you have two options from here: to continue the pregnancy or terminate it.” Laura “had prayed and waited for her for so long, and she was finally here”. As she lay in the dark ultrasound room, joyfully watching her baby twist and turn on the monitor, she was being asked if she still wanted her. “She may have a learning disability. She may be sick. She may need surgery. And for that, did I want her to be mutilated and thrown away?” How eerie-- she and Nick immediately rejected termination. She said there was no pressure, but the doctor was very somber offering no positive words or resources, which was troubling and disappointing. She imagined the many moms and dads who needed support and were not given any in such a vulnerable time. After Winnie’s birth, she spent 4 months in the hospital undergoing multiple successful surgeries. Despite the diagnosis experience, the doctors in the hospital after her birth were supportive and helpful. “Recognizing her worth that we knew was there all along.” Today Winnie is 5, the oldest of 3, with lots of energy, who loves her family, friends, school and playing. When it comes to the doctors who advised abortion, Laura says: “Instead of telling them anything, I would simply ask them to spend a few moments with Winnie before asking another patient if they wanted to terminate their baby with Down syndrome.” (Source: “Parents Refuse Abortion for Daughter With Down Syndrome…” Cassy Fiano-Chesser, Live Action News 7/22/20).