‘Doctors treated my unborn baby as a problem, not a human’

A young woman has shared how she was strongly advised to have an abortion up to her 35th week of pregnancy due to the disabilities of her unborn child.

Catherine MacMillan became pregnant aged 18 as she prepared to attend university.

Although she initially booked an abortion, she changed her mind after receiving overwhelming support from her family and refused to go ahead with the procedure.

Only option

“Pressure on young women in these situations is now huge.

“Abortion can seem like the only way out of a frightening new situation,” she said.

In her 26th week of pregnancy, she was told the baby had serious brain abnormalities, due to a condition called Dandy Walker Syndrome, which meant that three parts of her brain did not form correctly in the womb.


Catherine describes this as the point in her pregnancy when she became her daughter’s “advocate and began to stand up for her life”.

Sara was born on March 31, 2010, and needed serious medical intervention during her first two years of her life.

During this time, Catherine filed complaints against several doctors for neglect and bad practice for how they had treated Sara.

Some of them did not view Sara as a human being; they viewed her merely as a medical problem that they could not solve

Catherine MacMillan

“Some of them did not view Sara as a human being; they viewed her merely as a medical problem that they could not solve,” she said.

Quality of life

Her health did improve and she experienced a significant increase in her quality of life for the next four years.

But sadly, Sara’s improved health did not last as she passed away peacefully in her sleep in January this year.

Catherine believes it was from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Sara would have been six years old in March.


Catherine says the years she spent with her daughter is helping her to overcome all the pain of losing her.

“The pain I am experiencing now, and will experience for the rest of my life, is worth it.

“Worth it to have those almost six years of joy, love, heartache and extreme pride. Worth it to have the happiness, the smiles and everything that Sara taught me,” she concluded.

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