Catholic Diocese of Richmond

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Office > Social Ministries & Respect Life

The Embracing Grace Ministry was started to offer peer support to families who are expecting a baby diagnosed with an adverse prenatal diagnosis.

The unexpected diagnosis can be spina bifida, or any of the chromosomal abnormalities, Down syndrome or Trisomy 13 or 18.

But whatever the diagnosis, the parents are often devastated and must decide what to do. Parents are often presented with the option of choosing an “induction of labor” (a euphemism for abortion) or to carry the child to term.

The Embracing Grace Ministry pairs the parents with a peer supporter who has had the same experience. The peer supporter shares experiences, provides resources and in general helps the family maximize the time they have with their baby, both inside and outside the womb. For more information, contact Paula Stryker, an Embracing Grace peer minister.

Additional Resources

In April 2014 the Diocese of Richmond held a conference titled, A Christian Approach to an Adverse Prenatal Diagnosis. Dr. Marie Hilliard presented on the topic “The New Eugenics: Eliminating the Undesirables.” Those who attended heard the stories of individuals who had this experience with their baby and were urged by physicians to “terminate the pregnancy.” Several clergy spoke of being present for the families as they carried their babies to term. In addition, Rich Stryker, husband of Paula Stryker and father of Corrine Catherine spoke of the impact their baby had on the whole family even though she lived just 90 minutes.

Watch the video: The New Eugenics: Eliminating the Undesirables

Click Here to read Rich Stryker’s compelling testimony: “A Father’s Journey” – originally published in the National Bioethics Quarterly in the Spring 2014 edition.

Click Here to read a study published in April 2015 that examines the rise in abortions of those with Down Syndrome.