The abortion rate for a pregnancies with prenatal diagnosis of a disability is alarmingly high…up to 90% of mothers ultimately make a choice against life, including even Catholic women.   A recent study showed that when support is provided to the expectant parents, the abortion rate drops significantly.  We know from experience that a priest, deacon, or pastoral staff member is generally the first person sought out following such a diagnosis.  But oftentimes clergy and staff feel ill equipped to counsel these families and counter the technical and compelling language of the medical community.  The resources below are designed to equip people to respond to these needs, and includes an online toolkit with free downloadable resources with a faith-based framework.

On Tuesday, October 5, 2010 NCPD broadcast a webinar on the topic of Prenatal Diagnosis. Click here to go to the webinar page.


Resources from Organizations

Be Not Afraid

 Be Not Afraid (BNA) is a private non-profit corporation whose mission is to provide comprehensive, practical, and peer-based support to parents experiencing a prenatal diagnosis and carrying to term.  In addition, BNA encourages development of new services so more parents find support at diagnosis by offering training, consulting and technical assistance as well as materials to other organizations and individuals committed to service development. 
 General Brochure
 Poor Prenatal Diagnosis Brochure
 Pastoral Care Brochure
 Down Syndrome Flyer
 Hope After Poor Prenatal Diagnosis
(Article in the National Catholic Bioethics Center)
For additional information contact Tracy Winsor, Outreach Coordinator for be Not Afraid: 704.543.4780

Isaiah's Promise

We are a group of parents who knew early in our pregnancies that our babies had severe or fatal birth defects. Each of us, for various reasons, continued the pregnancy. It's a difficult and very personal decision. 
We know the devastation, confusion, heartbreak and loneliness. We can't change your circumstances or make decisions for you. But we can offer support, friendship and experience.
Contacting us can be the most difficult thing to do at this time, we know. If you'd like to contact us, please e-mail your phone number to It's not so scary when you realize you're not alone.

Cubby and Nancy

Elizabeth Ministry

Elizabeth is an international outreach ministry designed to support women and their families during the joys and sorrows of the childbearing years. Its mission is to promote the sanctity of life, to encourage families and to build community by offering peer support in times of need. EM is based on the story of the visitation of Mary and Elizabeth which provides a profound scriptural example of faith sharing. Elizabeth Ministers serve as volunteer representatives of the faith community offering support, resources, prayers and understanding through personal contact and visits.


 Archdiocese of Boston (Pro-Life)

Part. 1Part 2Part 3Part 4

  Pastoral Notes Regarding Crisis Pregnancy Issues Relating to Genetic Defect, Fetal Anamoly of the Health of the Pregnant Woman

 National Catholic Bioethics Center

   Statement on Early Induction of Labor, March 11, 2010
   Early Induction of Labor Summary
   Hope After Poor Prenatal Diagnosis

 Tepeyac Family Care Center
   Dr. John Bruchalski Interview

Project Rachel
     Manual Excerpts on Prenatal Diagnosis
For parents who did choose abortion there is information available at

 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

  Pro-Life resources
  Post abortion healing
  Direct Abortion Statement

 NCPD Committee on Ethics and Public Policy

 The New Eugenics



 For the Love of Angela - Ordering
 My Child, My Gift - Nugent Press Release
 Waiting for Eli



 Washington Times

  Choosing not to abort babies with disabilities

A wonderful article by Julia Duin, the Religion Editor for the Washington Times, was printed May 10 about mothers choosing not to abort children with disabilities.   
In it she describes "the growing network of mothers and medical professionals who are providing support groups, medical advice and Web sites for pregnant mothers of children with disabilities."
  Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tracy Winsor, Be Not Afraid, NC
Monica Rafie,

This is the first in a series of articles we will share over the next 12 months offering “Monica’s picks” of interesting articles regarding research and/or features about prenatal diagnosis.  You will note that we offer both a link to the article as well as a brief description of topic.  Please let us know if you have questions.  

Article #1

 How can we stop more Down syndrome babies from being aborted?

Tracy and Monica have committed to writing a regular post for HLI America. Our first piece was about the failure of national Down syndrome advocacy orgs to effectively advocate for babies in the womb with Down syndrome. LifeSite News picked up the piece which is the version offered above.  The comments are very interesting. Some speak to the "happiness" and general good disposition of people with Down syndrome - which unfortunately, is the type of commentary which will never save the life of a baby with Down syndrome. We work to develop messaging that affirms the value of each person based upon their inherent, God-given dignity, and not upon how "happy" or pleasant they are to be around, etc. Please note, LifeSite altered the title - our original title was, Down Syndrome: Toward More Effective Advocacy.
Article #2

 One in 50 babies has a birth defect as detailed new study shows numbers nearly DOUBLE previous estimate

 This article offers new data regarding abortion rates after prenatal diagnosis in the UK. These numbers are difficult to obtain here in the US, as we don't have consistent abortion surveillance in each state. There is a general sense that abortion after prenatal diagnosis is somewhere between 3 to 7% of all abortions, but again, difficult to pin down.

Article #3

 The devastating choice: to abort or not to abort our unborn child with a lethal condition

 LifeSite News pulled a story from a mother's blog about her experience carrying a baby given a fatal diagnosis. A Catholic deacon helped the couple understand that early induction would be an abortion.

Article #4

 When Seconds Count: A look at what happens when parents continue a pregnancy after a fatal diagnosis

 Daniel Allott (who attended the BNA conference) is the author of this article which ran in The Catholic World Report about the Keller family whom Monica helped after their baby boy was diagnosed with OI 2 (a fatal version of "brittle bone disease.") The Allott brothers are in the midst of producing a film about persons with disabilities and the issues which threaten their lives and well-being.  Nancy Mayer-Whittington from Isaiah’s Promise is also featured. 

Article #5  Hope After Poor Prenatal Diagnosis
(Article in the National Catholic Bioethics Center)
 Parents who receive news that their unborn child has a serious birth defect, genetic syndrome, or other medical complication are often left to sort out their responses on their own. As co-founders of the network Be Not Afraid, for almost ten years, we have had the privilege of
supporting parents who carry their babies to term after a poor prenatal diagnosis. BNA provides this support both online and through the development of local services in several communities.
Related Disability or Ministry: