Published in 2017
A woman in my church was recently diagnosed with breast cancer around the time she was told she was pregnant with twins. She was advised to abort the babies and get immediate surgery and chemotherapy.
What a ghastly choice to face! Either kill your unborn babies and try to save your life for the sake of your husband and seven small children, or continue with the pregnancy and potentially end up dying and leaving your young family to fend for themselves.
This year another mother in the US was faced with the same decision. Michigan mother Carrie DeKlyen was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour and then found out she was pregnant with child number six.
Carrie chose not to abort and died three days after her daughter was born. Sadly her baby, born at 24 weeks gestation, only lived a few days.
Did Carrie make the right choice? Would she have decided the same way knowing the outcome? What about her poor husband, left with heartbreak, doubt and kids to raise on his own? Would he have made the same choice again?
The woman I know also chose to forgo treatment for the sake of her unborn. She now has two bouncing, healthy girls, but her own health is not good and the outcome may still be a sad one. [Editor’s note: she died before the twins turned one.]
How does one weigh the value of a life? Is an adult life with responsibilities and dependents worth more than an unknown life that is yet a few cells? Logically it would seem so. However, the Bible, which guided both these women in their decisions, teaches that life begins at conception and that every life is equally valuable.
Psalm 139: 13-16 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”
These women chose to voluntarily lay down their lives, rather than take the life of another. They had a choice and they used their strength to protect the weak who had no voice.
I’m glad that I am too old to ever have to face such an awful dilemma but I admire their courage and I believe they will be eternally rewarded for following the loving example of their Saviour. Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” and then He went to the cross to lay down His life to pay for for the sins of us all.
Carrie’s husband said: “I have no explanation of why this happened, but I do know Jesus loves us and someday we will know why.”
To some people these women’s choices may seem foolish or foolhardy but they both understand this life is a blink in eternity and that “he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep [his life] to gain what he cannot lose [God’s eternal reward]” (Jim Elliot).