WK has filed this under ‘Heroic’ and ‘Choose Life’.
I certainly think the mother was selfless, and was following her maternal instincts, and she certainly made a difficult decision, and gave all for her child. I cannot fault her on any of those grounds, and I don’t wish to be uncharitable towards someone who sacrificed herself.
But I also wouldn’t fault any pregnant woman who chose differently, either. As a Christian, I’m opposed to abortion*, for the sake of ‘convenience’, as a substitute form of birth control after the fact; I’m not opposed to abortion for what I consider a legitimate medical reason: to save the life of a mother. If one has a situation like this, where there is a clear-cut choice to save only one of two lives, and the other one would be lost, I see little moral difference from, say, shooting a would-be murderer in self-defense or defense of others. Most of us do not find it morally objectionable for one to opt to save oneself in that scenario, or save others’ lives, as a policeman may have to do to stop an armed killer. And while this is a different scenario, with an innocent unborn child not intending to kill his / her mother, it ends up practically at the same place: to save the life of one individual, the other must die.
And what is the result in this tragic situation?
A man is without the love of his life, his dear wife, and now has to raise a child without a mother, by himself, unless and until such time as he might remarry.
Had she lived, they might have had another child or children together later, as many couples who’ve experienced miscarriages have indeed done. The unintended loss of an unborn child is tragic, but it’s not the end of the world. I think if I were married, and my wife expecting, I’d rather lose my unborn child than my wife, frankly.
And I don’t think I’m wrong to feel that way. Nor would I think it selfish for a woman to choose to live, for the sake of her husband, and a future together, in such a situation.
Dare I advance the thesis that in opposing abortion and the ‘culture of death’, that perhaps we may sometimes go too far in the other direction, wanting so much to celebrate a woman choosing to not abort, that we end up effectively endorsing such a decision in situations like this as THE RIGHT CHOICE, as if the opposite choice were wrong, unthinkable, beyond the pale, and of a piece with those who abort for the sake of convenience?
I do so dare.
Not that I’m saying that a mother ALWAYS ought to opt, in such a situation, to save her own life rather than give it to save her unborn child, either.
In this kind of situation, I’m completely pro-choice, in the truest sense of that phrase.
*And yes, I’m fully aware that abortion, as a surgical procedure, was not mentioned, but the effect would have been the same: the surgery that could have saved her life could have killed the unborn child. Functionally, therefore, there is little difference.
Mother gives up her own life to save her unborn child