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'I dreamt of becoming a mother. Now I feel like a murderer'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 25th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

British mother Hilary Freeman was set to welcome her daughter Elodie into the world - until she learned her child would be disabled and might only live briefly if born. She made the decision to abort her child - and has found no solace ever since.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Freeman, at 41, was older and in a late-term pregnancy. She decided to undergo a test to determine if her child was afflicted with Down's syndrome. "I was 22 weeks pregnant when I finally learnt the truth, in a phone call from a fetal medicine midwife."

"She said she was sorry, but the full amniocentesis results showed that Elodie had a chromosome condition called Trisomy 2 Mosaicism (an extra copy of chromosome two), which is so rare that . there are only five children known to be living with it in the world, and only seven live births recorded in medical literature."

"Each of the surviving children has severe, but different, disabilities: brain damage, feeding problems, heart and kidney problems, and physical deformities. Chromosome two is so fundamental to human life that, usually, a problem with it causes spontaneous early miscarriage," Freeman says.

"The doctors all made it clear they thought a termination (a euphemism for an intentionally procured abortion) was for the best. (My partner) Mickael said he'd be supportive of whatever decision I made, but he was also clear that it wouldn't be fair to let our baby suffer."

Freeman decided to "terminate her pregnancy". In other words, she decided to intentionally have her disabled child killed through a procured abortion rather than give birth to her. She now says it was a horrid experience in many ways.

"Added to this, I was told what a late NHS termination involves. It is not a painless or quick surgical procedure, performed under anesthetic. The process takes four days."

"First, potassium chloride - the chemical used in U.S. executions - would be injected through my abdomen into Elodie's heart . Two days later, I would come back to the hospital to be induced. I would then have to go through labor and give birth to my dead baby. Afterwards, I'd be given tablets to dry up my milk."

Freeman says she was determined to give her unborn child what she thought would be the maximum amount of dignity in the chemical abortion procedure. "There can be few things in life more painful than choosing your baby's funeral music and readings while she is still kicking inside you . I also had to choose the outfit she would wear in her coffin."

Doctors inserted the chemical to kill her unborn baby. "I closed my eyes, clutched Mickael's hand and cried until it was done. Elodie was kicking me right until the end. When she stopped, I realized I'd never feel her move again".

"For the next two days I walked around zombie-like, carrying my dead baby inside me."

Freeman then gave birth to her dead child in the manner she would have if her child had lived. "In a way, I felt I deserved the pain of each contraction as retribution for taking my baby's life - a reaction I'm told is not unusual among women in my situation."

Both Freeman and her partner were allowed to see their child lying in state. "At just over a pound, she was far bigger than I'd been led to expect, and she was perfect, absolutely beautiful, with her father's mouth and my hands."

"We talked to her and held her and admired her tiny fingers and fingernails, just as you would any newborn baby.

"For a while I felt euphoric - another of nature's cruel hormonal tricks - until I realized that she was growing cold and it hit me that she would never get warm again."

Freeman says she will scatter the ashes of Elodie along the coast of Nice, France, where she was conceived. After the tragedy - and the trauma and travail caused by intentionally killing her disabled child through a procured abortion - she vows to have more children. 

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