‘We shouldn’t be valued because of what we can do’

This week we hear from Brian Gault from Northern Ireland, born without arms as a consequence of his mother taking the drug thalidomide during pregnancy.

The fourth story in our ‘Choose Life’ series comes in the same week that the NI Justice Minister is proposing to remove some of the protections currently in place for unborn children in the Province.

Brian shares how fulfilled his life has been having taken on board the advice to “look to your potential and not your limitation”.

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Nervous breakdown

Reflecting on a life in which he has authored the book ‘Look No Hands’ and is an in-demand public speaker, Brian Gault has not forgotten the difficulties of his early years.

“It was hard for my mum”, says Brian. “She had a nervous breakdown and at that time she didn’t have any answers – nobody told her why I had no arms.”

After watching a programme in 1993 about children in Brazil affected by thalidomide he wrote his book to raise money to support them.

He and his wife have now been to Brazil six times and have helped well over a hundred families.

Abortion Act

“We’re all special” says Brian. “Although I have a disability, we shouldn’t be valued because of how productive we can be, what we can do. We should be valued for just being who we are.”

He is thankful that the Abortion Act wasn’t in place before he was born, believing he “wouldn’t be sitting here today” if it was.

“What would my mum have done? I’m sure there’d have been a lot of pressure on her to have aborted. I’m so thankful my mum wasn’t put under that pressure.”

Protections removed

Northern Ireland’s Justice Minister David Ford is recommending abortions be allowed where the unborn child does not have the prospect of a ‘viable life’. Views will also be sought on changes to allow for abortion in the event of rape.

Watch Bonnie and Phil talk about why they continued with pregnancy after their daughter Grace was diagnosed with anencephaly, where a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull – precisely the sort of condition covered by the proposal.

Hear too from Gary who was conceived through rape and is so grateful to his mother for not giving in to the pressure to abort him.

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