Is the pre-born baby a “person” created by God with a soul that will live forever? Two of the stories in Journeys to Mother Love touch on this subject.
Ellen Cardwell shares the story of how her mother died suddenly while taking a Sunday afternoon stroll when she was pregnant full-term with Ellen. A popular attitude of the times was that the unborn baby should be left to die with the mother. A caring doctor, though, performed an emergency operation on the deceased mother and took the baby out, resuscitating her to life. The story appeared on the front page of the Oakland Tribune (see photo above).
For Ellen, the mother/child relational healing she experienced later, had to do with relating to and forgiving her stepmother, who had led Ellen to believe she was her birth mother.
In another memoir included in Journeys to Mother Love, Kyleen Stevenson-Braxton tells how, as a frightened, pregnant college student, she chose abortion—and then the resulting emotional pain, cancer, and barrenness she experienced when, in a loving marriage, she longed for children.
The mother/child healing aspect of Kyleen’s story had to do with her “relationship” with the unborn, aborted child who she came to think of as a person with a name; with her relationship with her stepchild; and with her own need to forgive herself.
These are both powerful stories. They show how important to God is every person he creates. And though we are called “mortal beings” because our bodies will die, there is a part of us that will not die. These stories also show that we are each individuals but tied together with bonds stronger than death.
When it comes to personhood and abortion, I believe we should vote and work for just and biblical laws. But I also believe that man’s law and God’s law are not the same. It is a worthy goal to want man’s laws to be based on God’s laws. But it is not the main goal. Jesus said that he came to fulfill the law. And he said that the greatest commandment was to love (see Matthew 22:37-39). When we love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, we also love what he has created.
I’m thankful the doctor in Oakland, California honored God and the life he created when he allowed Ellen to be “born”; and I’m thankful for the love and forgiveness the Lord has given Ellen for her mother and stepmother, and for the hope she has of fellowship with them in Heaven.
I’m also thankful that God the Father welcomes into his presence the babies aborted and robbed of a life on earth. And he has shown his love for Kyleen by giving to her children to adopt and love as well as peace concerning the child conceived in her own body, whom she anticipates meeting face to face in Heaven.
The second part of Jesus’ great commandment is that we “love our neighbors as ourselves.” When we live by that law of love — and see our mothers and our children as our “neighbors” — our stories are transformed.