Ever since Ella joined the wheelchair basketball team two years ago, we’ve had an ongoing discussion about her teammates’ disabilities and abortion. It’s a topic she keeps returning to as she struggles to make sense of an ugly reality.

The day that she saw the abortion rate for Down Syndrome was around 90%, she asked, “What’s the abortion rate for spina bifida?”

We looked it up. The reports vary between 64 and nearly 100%.

“What does that mean?” She asked with a furrowed brow.

“For every kid you know with spina bifida, at least two are dead, but probably more,” her older brother stated matter-of-factly.

This past Saturday morning after basketball practice, she picked up the topic again. “Mom, I was counting in my head, and I know 13 kids around my age with spina bifida.”

“Yeah?” I asked. “And?”

“That means that at least 26 are dead. Twenty-six is enough for at least two more basketball teams.” She sighed and turned to look out the car window.

“It is.”

“Mom, you know how this weekend we’re going to Oklahoma to play? It’s because we’re the only team in Dallas.”

“That’s right. That’s why we always travel, or they come here. There’s only one team in most places.”

“Yeah…They’re like us, and it’s just wrong. We all have to travel just to have someone to play, because all the other teams are dead…”

I honestly don’t know what to say to that.

(There are 6.5 million people in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Ella’s team of fourteen 1st-8th graders is the only team in its age bracket that we know of. For most of her teammates, the Saturday morning practices/games are the only time they ever see other children in wheelchairs.)