‘We Could Never Choose to Play God:’ Parents of Baby Without Skull Refuse Abortion

Jaxon-compressedTAVARES, Fla. — The parents of a now one-year-old boy who was born without a skull recently addressed their critics who assert that the couple should have chosen to abort their child because of his medical condition.

Brandon and Brittany Buell believe that their son Jaxon is a miracle. He was diagnosed with a rare condition known as microhydranencephaly while in the womb, a condition that he was not expected to survive past a few days.

Doctors advised the Buells to abort Jaxon, who at the time was 23 weeks gestation, but the couple refused because of their Christian faith. Last month, Jaxon defied the odds in celebrating his first birthday, and on Saturday, his father took to Facebook to both mark the milestone and address the critics who claim that Jaxon should have been aborted.

Buell began by explaining that his son is just like any child.

“Jaxon is still here with us, still learning, still developing, still thriving,” he wrote. “He’s back to smiling at us, always so happy in the morning after he wakes up and takes turns looking at both Mommy’s and Daddy’s face, seemingly as if he is so excited to start another day.”

“He is talking up a storm these days, truly teaching himself how to communicate with us in his own way, in his own language, and we actually understand it after learning with him for these 13 months,” Buell continued. “He says ‘Mama’ and he says ‘Ah Ah’ (Dadda), and ‘Addy’ (Daddy). I love that.”

Buell also addressed the critics who have condemned the family for not aborting Jaxon because of his medical condition.

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“There are so many things about Jaxon, our family, and his story that are completely misunderstood,” he wrote. “It’s baffling to hear or see other people’s opinions on our baby that have never met him, that somehow know how he thinks, how he acts, how he feels, how much of what he does is voluntary or involuntary, how he is always in pain, and that we are selfish parents for not choosing to have an abortion…”

“Jaxon was our baby, and we only had one shot to do everything we could for him. We would never choose to play God in that situation, when we had been given a child, and it was our job to give him a chance to live,” Buell continued.

But despite the naysayers, the couple has also received much support, garnering nearly 100,000 Facebook likes and raising nearly $60,000 for their son’s medical bills.

“[W]e will never understand how anyone could ever have a negative or hurtful comment to say about an innocent special needs child, but those poor souls are by far the minority, and they should see our inbox from the masses who love our son, our family, his story, and are inspired by him because he continues to fight and because we chose life in the first place,” Buell said.

He stated that he believes Jaxon’s story will benefit the medical world as the family plans to work with some of the leading neurological teams in the country, and that others who will walk a similar path will be encouraged by their son’s life as well.

“We should all be so fortunate to make a difference, to make this world a better place than how we found it, and to seize the day,” Buell stated. “[I]t’s clear that Jaxon’s tiny footprints will have a lasting impression on this world, and that he has already touched and inspired more lives in one year than most of us ever will in our lifetime. For his life, I am better, I am blessed, I am grateful, and I am quite simply, one proud ‘Addy.”

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  • Peter Leh

    what a blessing.
    what an encouragement to all.

  • Josey

    So precious and inspiring!

  • This is what choice is all about.

    If this is a futile endeavor and leaves fellow citizens with seven figures of medical bills then it might be a bad choice but it is still a choice that they were able to make.

    The child is extremely disabled with profound motor and mental retardation. He has no cerebral cortex and almost no brain stem. He has a chance of making it to adulthood but will be unable to interact socially. He will be in diapers and require assistance just to sit up.

    • bowie1

      But then the child may grow up fairly normal except for his physical appearance – time will tell.

      • Jim H

        He won’t be normal if his cerebral cortex and most of his brain stem is gone. He wouldn’t be able to function at a level much higher than a reptile.

        • bowie1

          Sometimes what will happen is the function that the missing or damaged part controlled is to move to another part of the brain, what little there may be. Time will tell. By the way, I volunteer with intellectually handicapped adults so I know some may have a very low functioning ability but they still need human interaction.

          • Not with this much damage. The cerebral cortex is the largest and most important part of the brain. Thought and actions require a cerebral cortex. The limited brain stem might adapt to provide control over things like breathing and blood pressure but without a cerebral cortex we are no longer even human.

            I am all for choice, which includes choosing to have a severely disabled child. I also loathe abortion.

            Let us assume for the moment that the doctors were correct — this baby will lack most of what makes us persons and will require infant-like care for the rest of his life.He will be profoundly retarded and have severely limited motor skills. Never go to school and never really do anything except eat, sleep and soil the diapers.

            Is it worth it? Could you have compassion for someone who said no and chose to have an abortion? Can you accept the fact that sometimes we need a choice?

          • Jim H

            I’m familiar with the idea of neuroplasticity where a different part of the brain will take over the function of a damaged part.

            As I understand neuroplasticity it can include large-scale changes involved in cortical remapping in response to injury.

            However, DavidHart-slowlyboiledfrog said that the ABC news report stated the baby has no cerebral cortex. If true, so there is nothing there to remap.

            The cerebral cortex is responsible for the processes of thought, perception and memory. It serves as the seat of advanced motor function, social abilities, language, and problem solving.

            That only would result in a very low level of functionality. But this baby also has almost no brain stem.

            The brain stem controls the flow of messages between the brain and the rest of the body, and it also controls basic body functions such as breathing, swallowing, heart rate, blood pressure, consciousness, and whether one is awake or sleepy.

            This poor baby would have to be barely functioning on a physical level, and almost, if not completely, nonfunctional on an intellectual/emotional level.

            I find it hard to understand how this poor kid would even be aware of human interaction much less need it. He just doesn’t have the “hardware” or “software” for that.

            By the way, I apologize for my reference to operating on the level of a reptile. it was not meant to be demeaning or callous. I was referring his level of functionality using the terms of old triune brain theory which was probably inappropriate and not necessarily accurate.

          • Jim H

            Just wanted to provide some updated information. I just read another article on this. It quotes his father as saying, “Jaxon has a brain stem, which controls motor functioning, but he lacks a cerebral cortex, the “gray matter” of the brain that controls thought.”

    • Ken M


    • Jim H

      Did you read about the child being extremely disabled with profound motor and mental retardation somewhere else. I would not be surprised if it were true. If the baby has no cerebral cortex, he has no higher brain functions, if he has almost no brain stem, he must be almost completely dysfunctional and capable of only the autonomic functions that keep him alive. It is hard to believe he can say ‘Mama’, ‘Ah Ah’ (Dadda), and ‘Addy’ (Daddy), if he is in that bad of shape.

      • Did you read about the child being extremely disabled with profound motor and mental retardation somewhere else?

        The diagnosis was on a local ABC news report.

        • Jim H


    • JeffreyRo55

      You have zero compassion.
      Thank God all people are not like you.
      There was a group of people in the 1930s and 1940s who enjoyed deciding that some people were “life not worthy of life.” Those people have been rightly reviled. However, the secular left in America has embraced the same anti-life, anti-human ideology, as typified in your quote. You pose as someone who cares about the child. It rings false. You regard yourself as someone who should have the power of life or death over another human being.

      • Stating the facts means that I have no compassion. OK – Everything is wonderful. It’s no wonder that charlatans like Benny Hinn so easily fleece people – just tell them what they want to hear.

      • Jim H

        “You have zero compassion.”

        That doesn’t seem to be a fair characterization to me. Is it always compassionate to continue biological life at all costs?

        “You regard yourself as someone who should have the power of life or death over another human being.”

        That could be turned around because it seems you regard yourself the same way. You would likely try to prevent death regardless of the level of suffering involved.

        You would also likely see fit to determine that the hardship to a family was irrelevant in such a decision.

  • Phipps Mike

    Is there such thing as putting something in his head to protect his brain?

    • Joseph Essien-Obot

      Thought about that too. I guess a problem will be his growth but I understand our heads stop growing after five, don’t know if that is true. If it is, I’d suppose something like an artificial skull could be implanted without growth being a problem.

      Just musing.

      However, my greater hope is that society respect his dignity as human he is. Wish all children could enjoy the love of their parents as he. Praise be to God!

  • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

    I don’t care what anyone says. He is cute. They made the only choice that comes from love. Life is the only choice. May God Bless this wonderful family.

    • Jim H

      There really is something cute about him. I think it is his really big eyes..

      • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

        He is cute. May be it is his eyes. I just hope people will be kind to him.

  • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

    I hope this story of love will help another family who are being told to Abort will have a change of heart. And will choose Love/Life For their unborn Chile.Even if that life will be short. Wouldn’t it be better to held and to be loved even a short time?? Than to be killed never being held and loved?? Why more Moms and Dads be like this couple? It is all about Love!

  • Matthew T. Mason

    Wow! If you ever wondered if Democrats were born that way…