Joseph McDougall was a physician in Nova Scotia who in the middle of the last century had a twenty-three year-old woman patient dying from tuberculosis. She was the mother of a one-year old child and had contracted this disease from her husband, a soldier in World War II. Perhaps if McDougall had practiced in other places, he could have performed procedures to help. Yet this young woman had a tubercular cavity in the lower lobe of her right lung and he could not operate. One procedure they had tried already had nearly killed her. So as she went from 125 pounds down to 87, they explained to her and her husband that she would likely die.
She made it known several weeks beforehand that she wanted to go home from the ward for Christmas. They did not think she would live that long, but on Christmas Eve she was still alive. She honored her promise to the doctor, not holding her young child at all and wearing a mask all the time except when she was alone with her husband. She returned to the medical center late Christmas day, and in the ensuing days her condition worsened further still. Yet she hung on to life. By February, she fell below 80 pounds, and began vomiting and refusing food. That is when they discovered a gift that she had been given on her trip home at Christmas. She was pregnant.
A medical abortion was refused, and the doctors reasoned that her body would reject the baby eventually. The doctors fed her intravaneously as she struggled for weeks, sure she and her baby would succumb. Yet in late March, they began to notice improvement. Her temperature went down. She began to eat and gain weight. An X-ray showed that growth of the tuberculosis cavity had stopped, and a later one revealed that the diaphragm from the growing womb had pushed up and closed the cavity. The end result was that a normal baby was born and the mother was healed. In this case, the child saved the mother.*
Knowing that you live in a nation where daily thousands of young children, by the desire of their parents, are ripped to pieces before they ever see the light of day, and that this practice is defended as a "civil" right, can be disheartening and just plain sickening. Yet the story above is not just a medical marvel, but a reminder of a Biblical truth that can encourage us in the pro-life community. Children will eventually save us from this plague, for children always do.
When Jewish babes were being tossed into the Nile by order of Pharaoh to diminish Israel and appease Pharaoh's gods, one was tossed obediently into the Nile but just happened also to be in a wicker basket. That child, named Moses which means "drawn out," grew to draw out Israel from this awful slavery. Recall the last plague on Egypt? The God-ordained death of the wicked's firstborn, an act not only of God's perfect justice but a foreshadowing of where true mercy and salvation would come. For this Moses was merely a picture of a "greater Moses." In the days when "Rachel was weeping for her children" because Herod had ordered mass infanticide, a child was carried away from this bloodshed by his parents down to that same Egypt. This child, the Son of God, arose to lead all who believe in Him out of the awful slavery of sin, leading his own mother to say of this child, "my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior." In that case, the child saved the mother - and a whole multitude more.
So let us not lose heart. Even as those outside the kingdom of God work hard to protect the right to kill their own offspring, the Lord is raising up a generation of children who love Him and will be used by Him to persuade hearts of abortion's wrong and draw us away from this evil practice. It will happen, for remember that "from the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength because of Your adversaries, to make the enemy and the revengeful cease" (Psalm 8:2). We do not merely have to hope that will be the case. Because of the Son of God, the One who though dead now lives, we must believe it shall be.
*From the December 2000 Focus on the Family Newletter. Go here to read the more complete details of this amazing story.