Doc Told Bishop’s Mother to Abort Him: “This Baby Will Be a Freak”

The new bishop at the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis was marked for death before he was born.

If his mother had listened to her doctor, she would have aborted her baby. “You’re carrying a freak,” the doctor told Judy Cozzens during her fifth month, “you shouldn’t continue this pregnancy.”

When Mrs Cozzens refused to have an abortion, the doctor told her she would have to get another physician. She did, and the baby was born reasonably healthy. He suffered from the skin disease eczema and developed asthma in his childhood.

Now, he is the new auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis.


Freak becomes a bishop. That’s the quick and easy storyline describing the path Father Andrew Cozzens took to becoming the next auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

But, here’s the strange part — the person who called him this name was a doctor. And, he pinned this label on Father Cozzens, called Drew throughout his childhood, without even seeing him.

In fact, Father Cozzens was still in his mother’s womb.

This takes some explaining, and so it was that his parents, Jack, 75, and Judy, 69, took a good chunk of time on a recent afternoon recalling the circumstances surrounding the birth — and life — of their No. 2 child, a boy who remarked to another doctor when he was just 4 years old that he was going to “do the Lord’s work” someday.

Troubling news

The drama began during Judy’s fifth month of pregnancy. She was teaching part time at a Catholic school in Connecticut. Her stomach hurt, and she figured she was getting the stomach flu that had been going around the school.

“Then, all of a sudden, I realized I’m getting my pains every five minutes, and I realized I was in labor,” she said. “So, Jack met me at the hospital and we went in. I almost lost [the baby], but they stopped the labor.”

She felt relief, but only momentarily. The tension over her son’s condition skyrocketed the following morning when the doctor came in to talk to her about what was happening.

“He said, ‘You’re carrying a deformed fetus, and you need to not continue with the pregnancy’” she said. “And, I said, ‘What do you mean? This is my baby.’ And, he said, ‘No, you don’t understand. You’re carrying a freak, and you shouldn’t continue with this pregnancy.’” (Read the rest here.)

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  • SisterCynthia

    What a beautiful testimony to God’s good plans for His children, shown in this family’s faithfulness. I hope he has a long, blessed ministry. :)

  • FW Ken

    Perhaps relevant. A doctor roommate 40 years ago spoke of how these babies are taken to a back room in the hospital nursery and left to die.

    • SisterCynthia

      Great article. To me, the most glaring flaw in the “abort the kid” argument is that they are not providing a more positive outcome for the mother (let alone the child…). Such abortions don’t cause time to roll itself backward, there is still loss, only now the potential for guilt over choosing to abort is there and there cannot be the goodbyes and acceptance of the person the family lost, even tho most women I know would still consider such a child a person… it is like imposing a miscarriage on the woman in place of a stillborn or newborn’s death. Watching friends of mine grieve the babies they’ve miscarried, and those who experienced stillbirth, I can honestly say both outcomes are excruciating. Pretending that abortion will make it all better is not compassionate, it’s a cruel lie.

  • Ssouth

    I’ve heard Pope John Paul II’s mother was also advised to terminate him due to her own health concerns. She of course, refused and lived another 9 years. Imagine how colorless a world without his presence. So disheartening to think of all the beautiful souls lost to abortion.

  • pagansister

    Just goes to prove that not all medical advise it correct. He was born a year before my first child. Medicine has hopefully improved since then.

    • hamiltonr

      It hasn’t. I’ve dealt with this problem of doctors telling people to abort healthy babies because they docs claimed they were terribly malformed repeatedly among my constituents, many of whom are users of medicaid. I have often wondered if there’s a medicaid-dishonest push to abort connection.

      • pagansister

        I sincerely hope that there isn’t a medicaid-dishonest push to abort connection. That is so wrong on so many levels! That kind of a lie make one wonder about the professionalism of the doctor(s) who would deliberately tell a woman that.

  • Bill S

    Stories like this confirm that Catholicism works as a worldview. Other worldviews work as well, but as long as your worldview works, that’s all that is important. I know of many happy, successful families with and without the Catholic worldview. My only problem is when Catholics look at their worldview as the only one that is true and try to impose it on those with a differing worldview. Rejoice that your worldview works for you and let others learn for themselves whether theirs works for them.

    • Veronica Jensen

      I guess the only question I have is do you believe in objective truth? If I say that 2+2=4 then that is objective truth. If you disagree with that then you have an opinion that is in opposition to objective truth. You are free to believe what ever you wish about mathematics, but your beliefs aren’t going to change the objective truth. This is to illustrate that the truth is worth defending and propagating. The Catholic church is defending the truth. People are free to accept or reject the truth if they wish, but it does not change the truth.