|Sharing their story – Abigail, Lesa and Tommy Lee Kidd were keynote speakers at Sunday’s Right to Life Rally. Nancy Brewer photo|
A touching presentation by a Lawrenceburg family was the highlight of Sunday’s rally sponsored by the local chapter of Tennessee Right to Life.
“God doesn’t make mistakes” was the message delivered by Tommy Lee and Lesa Kidd and their daughter Abigail, a 13-year-old with Down Syndrome.
“Suddenly I knew there would be limits,” Lesa said of the day that amniocentesis results showed Abigail had Down Syndrome.
“I didn’t know anyone with Down Syndrome and I was scared. I laid my head down and cried, but then a peace came over me… Then we took on the journey of Abigail.”
The news came when Lesa was 14 weeks pregnant, at 20 weeks doctors found Abigail had life threatening intestinal and heart problems. Tests at 28 weeks showed that she could live, but would still have very serious health issues at birth.
A pediatric cardiologist suggested Lesa reconsider her choice to have Abigail.
“She told me ‘I don’t think you’re really thinking about your quality of life’”, she said. “That’s when my mother instinct kicked in- somebody was trying to hurt my baby. I though, how many people go to these doctors and listen?”
Tommy Lee explained that a partial birth abortion would have been required at 28 weeks. The procedure, made illegal under most circumstances in 2003 (and later upheld by the Supreme Court), involves the partial delivery of the fetus before its life is terminated.
Ninety-two percent of women who learn they’re carrying children like Abigail choose abortion.
“That’s why you don’t see many people with Down Syndrome,” said Tommy Lee. “I hate to think that people believe Down Syndrome is a death sentence (for parents), because it’s not. She is such a blessing to us. Think of the blessing that you all would have missed today if we had not chosen that path.”
Abigail talked to the audience about her 2009 trip to Disneyworld, her love for swimming and the local Challenger softball league. She is also a member of the New Prospect Elementary basketball team. Her dad posted a video on YouTube of Abigail making her first basket with help from her team and the opposing team, Ethridge. The video can be viewed by searching for its title on the website: “Girl with Down Syndrome makes first ever basketball goal.”
Down Syndrome is caused by the presence of an extra chromosome.
“We call it the Love Chromosome that everyone needs,” said Tommy Lee. “Abigail shows everyone unconditional love and does not possess the ability to judge anyone.”
Others speaking at Sunday’s rally included Samantha Benefield, the mother of six and youth director at Lawrenceburg Sacred Heart Catholic Church; winners from the Right to Life poetry and essay contests; and oratory contest winner Julia Stowe.
In her speech, Stowe compared the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision to another by the Supreme Court: the 1857 Dred Scott decision that ruled no person of African ancestry could claim citizenship in the United States.
“We know from that that the Supreme Court is fallible,” she said.
State Representative Barry Doss, State Senator Joey Hensley, Don Johnson from Governor Bill Haslam’s office and Steve Albright of U.S. Congressman Marsha Blackburn’s office also addressed the crowd.