When Crystal Kelley agreed to a surrogate pregnancy for a couple who wanted a fourth child, she never dreamed it would end with a bribe and legal maneuvers to force an abortion.
The drama started when doctors discovered that the baby Kelley was carrying had a cleft lip and palate, a cyst in her brain and serious heart defects. At 21 weeks pregnant, CNN reports Kelley was “absolutely terrified” about the next ultrasound and the parents’ reaction.
But Kelley couldn’t have imagined what came next. The parents no longer wanted the baby—and they didn’t want her to carry the little girl to term. The parents wanted their surrogate to have an abortion. But Kelley adamantly opposed terminating the baby’s life.
"I told them that they had chosen me to carry and protect this child, and that was exactly what I was going to do," Kelley told CNN. "I told them it wasn't their decision to play God."
But the child’s biological mother wasn’t about to give up so easy. CNN reports that she contacted the Hartford Hospital the next day to ask about different types of abortion. When Kelley failed to follow through on terminating the pregnancy, the parents offered to pay her $10,000 to end the pre-born baby’s life. And when Kelley refused the money, the parents hired a lawyer to intimidate her.
"You are obligated to terminate this pregnancy immediately. You have squandered precious time,” wrote Douglas Fishman, an attorney in West Hartford, Conn., CNN reports. Time was of the essence because Kelley was 22 weeks pregnant. At 24 weeks it would no longer be legal to abort the baby. The lawyer threatened her with breach of contract because she had agreed to abort in the case of a “severe fetus abnormality,” but Kelley still refused to kill the life developing inside her.
As an activist in the pro-life movement, I’ve read and written shocking stories about forced abortion, abortion "specials" at Planned Parenthood—and even a "kill your baby for free day" at an Orlando, Fla., abortion clinic. But the offer to kill a baby for $10,000 shocked me. Kelley got it right—who are these parents to play God? The parents said Kelley should "try to be God-like and have mercy on the child and let her go." While I understand the parents’ fear about raising a child with disabilities, paying a kill fee for your own baby is not God-like.
Thank God for women like Kelley. I am sure she was under immense pressure as the people she committed to serve in surrogacy suddenly turned on her with legal threats and even allegations of extortion. When I consider the angst in her soul as she stood up against the two people in the world who were supposed to fight for their baby—and instead fought to end its life—it sends me to my knees to intercede for this champion of life.
Kelley has been sorely persecuted by other surrogates for her decision to defend life. Yet this self-described believer in life continues to speak out. I’m convinced she would have forever regretted the decision to abort the child in exchange for blood money, but she will forever have peace in her heart about fighting for life.
Although she was born with heterotaxy, multiple congenital heart defects, diabetes inspidus, syndromic lobar holoprosencephaly, she was carried—and loved—by a surrogate mother and adopted after birth by a loving family. Despite her infirmities, Kelley reports that Baby S, as she is called for privacy reasons, is a “lively, thriving little girl.” Amen.
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