Subscribe to IFRL

Contact the Media

GoodSearch cause banner

Option Line - 24 hour Pregnancy Hotline

Illinois Federation

For Right to Life

Daily News

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Courageous Mother Delays Chemotherapy Treatment for Cancer, Saves Lives of Twins

While some doctors routinely offer abortion in the case of women who are pregnant and facing cancer treatments, one British housewife has demonstrated that it is not always necessary to make such a difficult situation into a death sentence for the unborn child. Rachel Crossland, a British housewife and mother of six who had been diagnosed with cancer, refused chemotherapy and radiation treatment when she was informed she was 13 weeks pregnant with twins.

The Daily Mail reports that Mrs. Crossland was about to undergo surgery for a malignant tumour on her bladder when she found out she was pregnant. Mrs. Crossland said that doctors pressured her to have her children killed via abortion, saying, "The doctors told me lots of horror stories of what would happen to the babies if I had the treatment while pregnant and I was mortified."

"By then I was 13 weeks into my pregnancy and there was no way I could deal with getting rid of my babies and having to then fight cancer. That was the turning point and I decided I would take a chance."

The twins, Poppy and Saffron, were delivered at 32 weeks by caesarean section and surgeons surgically removed Mrs. Crossland's tumor with only a local anesthetic. She began chemotherapy after the twins were born and is now recovering at home with her husband, Adam, and her children.

She said, "I'm so glad that we all made it and now all I want is to get on with my life with Adam and be able to look after my children."

Although stories abound of mothers refusing treatment in favor of the life of their unborn children, medical studies have shown that a pregnancy during chemotherapy is not necessarily a choice between the life of the mother and the life of the child.

In a study published in the Lancet in 2004, researchers wrote that although chemotherapy can pose "life-threatening concerns" for a child in the womb, the "safe use of chemotherapy, especially during the second and third trimester, have been reported, and pregnant women with cancer can accept therapy without definite neonatal harm."

Another study by researchers from the department of Breast Medical Oncology at the University of Texas, also published in the Lancet in 2005, said that the timing of the cancer treatment with regard to the gestational age of the child, as well as the type of drugs used, "affect the risk of spontaneous abortion and miscarriage as well as that of congenital abnormalities."

The Texas study found that "foetuses exposed to chemotherapy in utero in the second and third trimesters can be carried to term, be born without evidence of congenital abnormalities, and develop normally."

Researchers at the department of Internal Medicine at A, Meir Hospital, Sapir Medical Center in Israel, reported in 2008 that although the risk of foetal abnormalities is high with chemotherapy in the first trimester of pregnancy, "this risk diminishes as pregnancy advances." "When the diagnosis is made later in pregnancy standard chemotherapy regimen should be considered and usually pregnancy termination is not mandatory."

Contact: Hilary White
Source URL:
Publish Date: March 17, 2009
Link to this article:


The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection for the disabled and the elderly.   Click here to learn more about the IFRL.

Bookmark and Share