Donna Joy: A Life Spared To Impact A Nation

I met Lori Vance in Washington, DC in 1999, and was so impressed with the story of her little girl, Donna Joy. Now 16-years old, Donna is a remarkable symbol of hope to families under pressure to abort for reasons of “fetal abnormality.” Her life and her mother’s faith are an inspiration to us all.

Troy Newman, President
Operation Rescue

Donna Joy: A Life Spared To Impact A Nation

By Lori Lynne Vance

In the spring of 1997, I was watching the House Sub-committee hearings on the issue of Partial Birth Abortion. The usual suspects had gathered for the occasion, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and the like. I listened with indignation as those abortion advocates seated at the table listed the reasons for this procedure to remain “medically necessary.” It was not long before I realized that these ranting liberals were talking about children like my own beautiful little daughter. I felt a righteous sense of rage welling up inside of me when people who did not even know her began talking as if she had no right to live in this country just because she was handicapped.

What these pro-aborts could not have known was that on the horizon, there was a storm brewing like none they had ever seen and likely never would again.

In the fall of 1991, I was told that the precious baby I carried in my womb had a fatal disorder of the brain. There was little or no brain tissue visible in the skull, she had Hydrocephalus, commonly known as water on the brain, and some brain was visible on the outside of her skull. I was told by every “expert” in high-risk maternal/fetal medicine that her condition was completely “incompatible with life”. I was offered a late term abortion, what I would come to know later as a Partial Birth Abortion, where the infant is delivered all but the head then stabbed to death by the abortionist and the brain is removed, the skull collapsed, and the dead baby is then disposed of like so much waste.

I absolutely refused.

While her early years were difficult and laborious, it was all worth it as I had a lively, pretty, blue-eyed bundle of joy to show for it by the name of Donna Joy. I knew she was special, but nobody knew how God was going to use her to impact the country with the first piece of abortion legislation since Roe v. Wade.

Following the broadcast of those hearings on C-span, I took Donna Joy to see our Congressman, Roscoe Bartlett, who then told U.S. Senator Rick Santorum about our story. Rick Santorum was the primary sponsor in the Senate to ban Partial Birth Abortions. He called, and Donna Joy and I set out on a journey that would be ten years of our lives, fulfilling a call by God to bring the voice of truth to the nation’s capitol. We did dozens of press conferences, talk radio and TV shows, and personal appearances. We visited with countless “fence sitting” national legislators and were visible in Washington whenever the subject was being debated. Legislators now had to deal with one reality: That this little child with so many brain abnormalities could not only survive, but thrive.

Pretending she did not exist had to be a difficult task for those on the left, especially for Senator Boxer of California who was so annoyed by her mere presence, that she had Donna Joy ejected from the Senate Gallery before the proceedings even began. Then, in the fall of 2003, the big day finally came. I will never forget what is was like to sit and watch from just a few feet away, as the President signed our bill into law, and more recently, the feeling of relief and pride at having it pass the Supreme Court 5-4, of being in awe at God’s work in this, and His mercy on our unworthy nation. It truly was validation that all of our hard work was worth it, that Donna’s struggle for life, as hard as it was at times, meant that hundreds of thousands of babies will no longer have to suffer through a “procedure” that could have been used to effect her untimely death.

I suppose I could have listened to all of the voices calling out for her murder, just because she may not be perfect. I could have listened to the voices of Planned Parenthood, and the “genetics counselors” who said it was OK to “just forget her” and get on with my life. “She’ll just be a burden,” they cried.

I CHOSE to hear the ONLY voice that mattered, the voice of truth. I put my hand on my swollen belly and felt her moving around, and I knew that her life did not belong to me, she belonged to her creator, God. He was giving me a gift, for however long, to enjoy, not to destroy.

View more pictures of Donna Joy