Parents facing a
difficult prenatal diagnosis are often advised to abort a child with a
“poor predicted quality of life.” NCAA wrestling champion Anthony Robles proves the problem might not be
the imperfection of the unborn life–just a faulty ability to predict how much quality each person
is actually capable of bringing into the world with them.
He recently retired from wrestling and launched a new career as a motivational speaker–and one who deserves to be heard. This young man is one of the strongest arguments for the value of every life I’ve ever witnessed. He came into the world in a surprising package—and he’s been surprising people ever since. Sports Illustrated reports his mother cried on the day he was born, when she saw his left leg was missing up to the hip. She said her tears were not shed because he was imperfect, but because she was in shock. She also said that in the years which followed, the doctors have not able to explain what happened to his leg.
He got a prosthetic
leg at age three, but he grew impatient with it when he was seven and
has either used crutches or hopped ever since.
When Anthony was poised on the edge of the 2010 NCAA championship, his mother said of his missing leg, “It’s something that was just meant to be, and now we see it as a blessing.”
The Kansas City Star shared a portion of his message:
“Every soul who comes to Earth with a leg or two at birth must wrestle his opponents knowing it’s not what is, it’s what can be that measures worth. Make it hard, just make it possible, and through pain I’ll not complain. My spirit is unconquerable. Fearless, I will face each foe, for I know I am capable. I don’t care what’s probable, through blood, sweat and tears, I am unstoppable.”
Yet every year in the US 92% of babies with a prenatal diagnosis of Down’s syndrome will be aborted. In the UK there is a controversy over whether doctors need to report aborting babies late in a pregnancy because the unborn child is found to have cleft palate. At the center of the debate is whether such a prognosis represents a “serious handicap.”
I have not walked a mile in their shoes, but I offer this story as a bracing bit of clarity in the eye of the abortion storm. And since I have no idea where Anthony stands on the question of abortion, I certainly don’t want to put words in his mouth.
I just wish every reluctant physician and every shocked and crying parent could meet Anthony and let him teach them how to wrestle with their fears–and win.