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‘Miracle’: First-Ever Neonatal Brain Surgery Undoes All Pro-Abortion Arguments


“This monumental surgery that saved the life of this precious baby girl affirms, once again, that her body — her brain, her heart, her tiny arteries, and her person — is entirely separate from her mother’s body; that she was knitted together in her mother’s womb as a unique individual in God’s image; and that she, like all human beings, whether born or pre-born, is deserving of life.”


Everything had been going so well. Your pregnancy was deemed “low-risk,” your scans have been great, and you’re excited to welcome another baby into the world.

But doctors inform you around 30 weeks’ gestation that something isn’t right.

After some testing, they tell you that your baby has a genetic abnormality called “vein of Galen malformation” (VOGM). The doctors say it’s not good — grave even. Something about high blood flow leading to heart failure, severe brain injury, or possibly fetal death after birth.

Midway through the third trimester and a deadly diagnosis. Many, including some doctors, would tell you to abort.

This is the story of Derek and Kenyatta Coleman of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Their almost full-term baby girl was suffering from an aggressive condition that caused high-pressure blood to rush to the base of her brain. Their baby’s tiny heart was under extreme stress, and over time, this could lead to congestive heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, loss of brain tissue, and hydrocephalus (an enlarged head).

A good outcome was against the odds. According to Boston Children’s Hospital, of babies in the womb diagnosed with VOGM, one-third do not survive, one-third suffer from moderate to severe neurocognitive compromise, and only one-third survive to adulthood without “significant compromise.” Needless to say, her parents had a decision to make — and fast.

The Colemans weighed the odds, and, despite a risk of preterm labor and brain hemorrhage, they opted for a clinical trial through Boston Children’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital that involved a neonatal operation.

For the first time in history, a baby — their baby — would undergo brain surgery while in utero.

The procedure, initially documented by the American Heart Association’s Stroke medical journal, took place earlier this year. It involved first administering anesthesia to both the mother and the baby. Surgeons then cut into the mother’s womb and opened the baby’s skull to reach her developing brain. Using a fetal ultrasound, surgeons located the artery at the base of her brain, repaired the artery, and successfully regulated her blood flow and heart function before suturing up both the baby and her mother.

Kenyatta gave birth two days later. Baby Denver Coleman made her grand entrance into the world at 34 weeks and 4 days, weighing in at 4.2 pounds. Miraculously, the surgery caused no injury to her brain, prevented her from needing any medication for heart failure, and actually resulted in significantly improved cardiac activity.

Post-operation, Denver was a perfectly healthy newborn baby girl.

After spending some time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to ensure normal development, she was ready to get on with it.

“We are pleased to report that at six weeks, the infant is progressing remarkably well, on no medications, eating normally, gaining weight and is back home. There are no signs of any negative effects on the brain,” lead study author Darren B. Orbach, MD, PhD, co-director of the Cerebrovascular Surgery & Interventions Center at Boston Children’s Hospital and an associate professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School, said in a news release.

“While this is only our first treated patient and it is vital that we continue the trial to assess the safety and efficacy in other patients, this approach has the potential to mark a paradigm shift in managing vein of Galen malformation where we repair the malformation prior to birth and head off the heart failure before it occurs, rather than trying to reverse it after birth. This may markedly reduce the risk of long-term brain damage, disability or death among these infants.”

And with that, medical science, once again, affirms that life exists the womb.

The sad reality is that on receiving a VOGM diagnosis, other parents may have chosen to brutally kill their baby girl to avoid the possibility of a less-than-perfect child. That decision would have easily been justified by pro-abortion advocates claiming that baby Denver was only a “clump of cells”; a “threat to the health of her mother”; “better off” dead than alive and unhealthy; and “her mother’s body” and, therefore, “her mother’s choice” to decide her fate.

Thankfully, this wasn’t the case for the Coleman family. Denver’s parents planned to give her a chance at life, regardless of the outcome. They weighed the risks, but as Christians, they had always recognized the value of the life their daughter had from the moment of conception and that she still deserved — no matter how short it might be or how long, how easy or how difficult. Like any other human being, they believed that Denver had the right to be born and to fulfill her God-given purpose.

That’s because the “clump of cells” she would otherwise have been declared to be actually had a functioning heart with blood flowing through it to the arteries in her brain which was operated on by the hands of brilliant surgeons. The “threat” some would have insisted she posed to her mother’s health was nonexistent. Denver was delivered vaginally, healthy, with no symptoms of the disease with which she was first diagnosed. It turns out that she was better off alive, as all babies are, because death was never an option for her, her parents, or her doctors.

As Kenyatta put it,

“Derek and I are deeply rooted in our faith and we prayed hard for this. You know, there was no doubt in our minds that God would perform a miracle, and He did, on a public platform using a little girl before she was even born. She made her mark on the world.”

Pro-abortion arguments have long been disproven, and every angle pro-aborts reach for today flies in the face of science and Scripture. This monumental surgery that saved the life of this precious baby girl affirms, once again, that her body — her brain, her heart, her tiny arteries, and her person — is entirely separate from her mother’s body; that she was knitted together in her mother’s womb as a unique individual in God’s image; and that she, like all human beings, whether born or pre-born, is deserving of life.

Baby Denver’s entire existence is a refutation of pro-abortion talking points. She lives today, not because pro-abortion activists advocated for surgery that could save her life, but because her Christian parents knew that her little life has inherent value. She deserved the right to live beyond the womb, and, by God’s grace, she now is doing exactly that.

Follow Reagan on Twitter! @thereaganscott

Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.

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