Just a few days after Breanne Davis filed to run for Arkansas Senate, she and her husband learned they were pregnant with their fourth child.
Then, amid the chaos of the election, the family received even more life-changing news: Their unborn daughter, Everly, showed strong characteristics of Down syndrome. Later, a test confirmed that Everly does have the genetic disorder.
Davis recently was sworn into office after winning the special election in May. She spoke to LifeNews this week about her pregnancy, her daughter’s diagnosis and her pro-life stance as Arkansas’s newest state Senator.
She is due to give birth to Everly at the beginning of August.
Though she and her husband admittedly felt a little overwhelmed about the pregnancy, Davis told LifeNews they were excited to watch their family grow again. They had considered expanding their family by becoming foster parents and adopting anyway.
“It struck me that you can’t plan life,” Davis said. “Life takes a lot of unexpected turns.”
Still, she said the news was overwhelming in the midst of the election.
“I really had to compartmentalize because the campaign was so intense,” she said, recalling when she first learned about Everly.
“My husband reacted differently,” she remembered. “He was all in on day one. It was intimidating to me. We live fast-paced lives, so I just really had to work through it.”
Despite the challenges and their hectic lives, Davis said they never considered abortion.
“We were asked that question [abortion] one time,” Davis said. “’Do you have plans to terminate?’ We said no. We are pro-life and it was an easy answer, but it was weird even to be asked that.”
Their doctors have been very supportive of their decision and their unborn daughter’s life, Davis said. Unlike some families in similar situations, she said she did not feel pressure to consider aborting her unborn daughter because she has special needs.
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Now, the family is busy preparing for Everly’s arrival. She and her husband have been talking with their older children about Down syndrome and reminding them that their baby sister is precious and valuable.
They told their children: “Everly will be able to do all the things that kids do, but it will just be maybe at a slower pace. We talked about protecting her, how some people may not understand or say mean things.
“I don’t know what her potential will be, but as a family we’ll make sure she reaches her potential just the same as we have with our other kids,” Davis said.
In the legislature, she said her fellow lawmakers also have been very supportive. Though she has not confirmed it yet, Davis said she may be the first lawmaker to give birth while serving in the state legislature.
Solidly pro-life, Davis said she has been volunteering in politics ever since she was 16. She also has worked with human trafficking victims, and her family has served as a respite home for foster children. But she believes her daughter’s life will impact her work in new ways.
“I believe that as pro-life advocates that we should be with people through all stages” of life, Davis said. “I think [our family’s story] adds another special layer of how we get to advocate for life.
“We believe that every life is valuable and everything has a purpose,” she said. “While we don’t know what the road ahead looks like, we feel that will get to play a part.”