Lifesite Editor’s note: Georgia Froncek, a veteran pro-life sidewalk counselor from California, has agreed to publish her experiences with a cancer-stricken woman who was nearly coerced by her insurance company into aborting her child in order to obtain treatment.
When I pulled up to the Long Beach Family Planning Associates Abortion mill at on February 3, 2009 at 8:30 a.m., I saw my fellow street counselor Charlotte talking to an Hispanic man named Carlos, who was visibly very upset. As soon as I exited the car, Charlotte motioned me to come over to join the conversation.
Carlos explained to me that his wife and mother of five children, named Nereyda, was in the abortion mill because their H.M.O. insurance company would not treat her for her serious stage 4 sarcoma cancer – unless she aborted her 5-month-old unborn child. I replied in Spanish that this was illegal, and that we could help them obtain care without having an abortion.
He smiled and called his wife’s cell phone inside the clinic and told her to come out immediately. She came out within thirty seconds, crying and very upset. She explained that the HMO had called her for fourteen days in a row, pressuring her into the appointment at the Long Beach Abortion mill. After consoling the couple, I called an adoption counselor to help us find a sympathetic social worker, who met the three of us for breakfast to discuss a plan to keep the baby.
Next, we called a Spanish speaking social worker who again insisted that Nereyda could not be treated for her aggressive stage-four cancer without getting an abortion before her consultation, ten days away. We told the social worker that Carlos and Nereyda had the right to medical treatment because she was paying for her insurance through her employment. I told the social worker that I would go with the couple to the consultation, which made Carlos and Nereyda feel better. I was happy to go with them.
At the consultation, there attended one thoracic surgeon, one internal medicine cancer specialist and one high risk obstetric doctor. The thoracic surgeon displayed Nereyda’s MRI scan – revealing a huge tumor spreading tentacles around her heart, lungs, and other vital organs. I had never seen a tumor like that! I turned my head away from Carlos and Nereyda so they would not see that I was weeping.
I asked God for healing as I watched Nereyda holding her womb – concerned not at all for herself, but only for her unborn baby. The doctors said that this was one of the worst and fastest spreading cancers they had ever seen, and that without being able to shrink it with radiation and chemotherapy, it was inoperable, and Nereyda would die within two months. The high risk OB-GYN doctor us that Nereyda would have to abort the baby as soon as possible so she could begin the most aggressive therapy to prolong her life.
Carlos and Nereyda once again insisted they would not abort the unborn baby. With my background as a former pharmaceutical representative, I asked the doctors if they could use a drug called Adriamycin, which would not harm the baby in utero. The doctors said that they could use Adriamycin, although it would not provide the best or most aggressive therapy. I explained this to Carlos and Nereyda, who said that after the birth of the baby they would permit the use of stronger drugs. The doctors finally agreed, prescribing some very potent synthetic pre-natal vitamins, and reluctantly writing the couple’s wishes in Nereyda’s chart.
When the doctors asked us if we wanted the insurance company to provide us with an advanced health care directive, I answered that we would produce one. Later I explained to the couple that, had we not taken the initiative, the directive supplied by the HMO would have almost certainly reinforced the original decision to abort the child in case Nereyda took a turn for the worse. With the providential help of a doctor, a lawyer and a former corporate attorney – all strongly pro-life – I was able to draft a health care directive that ensured the baby would be safe from abortion.
Later that month, I sent emails out to many people requesting their prayers for Nereyda’s health and for the birth of a healthy baby.
While Nereyda’s cancer remains, she was able to deliver a boy by caesarian section on May 18, 2009 – three months after the doctors said she had two months to live. I was overjoyed to visit three days later to meet their new son, Angel Jesus Candalario.
Since then, the tumor has shrunk from chemotherapy – but Nereyda still needs our prayers.
This is a wonderful miracle and a touching testimony of one woman’s faith and obedience to God, despite the consequences to herself. I know Nereyda is a living saint!