YOU MIGHT SAVE MORE THAN ONE LIFE…
Many young (and older) women consider the option of abortion a question of personal taste, personal feelings, a personal choice. Organisations supporting abortion may claim such facts such as the body of a woman belonging to her, and that she has the free choice to do with it as she wishes. (A similar idea is expressed by those that plaster their bodies with tattoos.)
The Torah – of course – tells us in no uncertain terms that the body that we own is a gift to us given by G-d Almighty Himself. We are to treat it with the respect it deserves. It is the vehicle which allows our souls to express themselves in this world. To perform acts of goodness and kindness to ourselves, to G-d – and to others. Whether it comes to tattoos, striking oneself, harming oneself, eating unhealthy (to degrees that literally affect the possibility of life/death situations) – or whether it comes to abortion, the Torah is clear – the body belongs to G-d.
Naturally, when it comes to the question of abortion, it is not only the body of the woman herself at stake – but another body too, a body that at this point in time has no free choice as to its own wishes. In addition, contrary to the tattoo or causing harm to one's own body – aborting a baby while in the womb is not just a situation of harm caused to another body – but rather it concerns the soul inside that body too. A life…
Many rabbis are asked the question from women falling pregnant "accidentally" if they can go through with abortion. They're not ready for having children – they might say. Or they might possibly comment that they didn't really want to fall pregnant. There may be a variety of excuses to terminate the life of another. (Is it any different to the "living" world where others use the same excuses to kill off those that are irritating *their* way of life?!)
It is a most sensitive situation that must be dealt with, with honesty, kindness, concern and deliberation. It is quite often that the woman (mother-to-be – no less!) is simply too immature to appreciate what is actually about to happen and how her life will change – for the rest of her life – as she brings into this world a child who will develop into an adult, give something to society, and ultimately be a blessing for the mother at some point in her life (and perhaps if she does not see the blessing in life, she may well come to see it at that point in time when she has already left this world.)
Perhaps the only way to ever convince a mother of her current wish to terminate the pregnancy, is to let her give birth, live out her life to see what the soul inside that body was all about and then imagine herself back in time wondering if she would make the same decision were she back at that point in time again today.
But it goes much further, because – to express it simply – the saving of the life of this child may well in the long run save the lives of others too. Perhaps just one, perhaps many….
If you or a friend finds yourself (themselves) in such a sensitive test in life, please do read the story below (it is true!) It is hoped that the power of these words should convince any woman that the decision to abort may cause her to lose more than one life – and the decision to save – may well end up the reason for the life – of her very best friend…
A link is included at the bottom of the post for those wishing to be in touch with a wonderful organisation in Israel known as "Efrat" – an organisation that saves the lives of Jewish children in Israel.
The story is adapted by Rabbi Yerachmiel Tilles of ascentofsafed.com.
Yoni, an Israeli Defense Force soldier stationed in Hebron, was shot by an Arab terrorist. It happened very early in the morning, and no one else was awake to hear it. Yoni passed out and was bleeding steadily, his life heading toward a silent end.
But another soldier stationed nearby heard the shot and went to investigate. He found a fellow Israeli soldier bleeding to death. He tried the best he could to stop the bleeding and called for help. Waiting for help to arrive, he kept applying pressure to the wound--literally holding Yoni's life in his hands.
Yoni was taken to a hospital in Be’er Sheva where he underwent surgery. Yoni's parents were notified and they rushed to the hospital. Imagine the fear of the parents who were only told "your son has been injured and is in the hospital." When they arrived the doctor told them that Yoni was shot but will be alright. However, had it not been for the immediate actions of the other soldier, their son Yoni would have bled to death.
It was a miracle that the other soldier heard what no one else heard, and managed to locate Yoni as quickly as he did. The parents wanted to thank that soldier, but he had just left the hospital after hearing that the soldier he helped would survive.
While recuperating at home, Yoni and his parents called the army to find out the name of the other soldier so they could thank him personally. Unfortunately, that soldier's name was not recorded and although they tried to ask around they simply couldn’t track down who that other soldier was.
Yoni's mother knew that the important thing of course is that Yoni is well, yet she could not help feeling that as long as she couldn’t meet and thank the solider who bravely saved her son’s life--the entire frightening episode would not be fully over. Not being able to thank the soldier continued to give her an empty feeling…but then she had an idea.
The couple owned a grocery store in Kiryat Malachi (a town near Ashdod), so they decided to put up a sign in the store, describing what happened, figuring that Israel is a small country and eventually they might found out who the mystery soldier was.
Months passed with no response. Finally, one morning about a year later, a woman customer noticed the sign hanging by the door of the store. She recalled how happy her son Yair was when he came home one Friday night and told them how he heard a shot and was able to save another soldier’s life in Hebron. She went back and told the owner of the store. The story matched. The two women now decided to try to reach their sons on cell phones and see if they could meet at the store. Fortunately it turned out that both the young men and even the fathers were able to all meet that afternoon at the store.
The families soon gathered for an emotional "rendezvous". The soldiers recounted army experiences and finally after all this time Yoni’s mother could stand up and thank Yair for saving her son’s life or as she put it, “You saved my world”. She looked forward to feeling “completion” after all this time by thanking the soldier, but little did she know that the story was hardly complete.
After the tearful thank you, Yair’s mother quietly pulled her aside and asked to speak with her outside. The two women went out alone. And she asked Yoni’s mother: “Look at me-- don’t you remember me?”
“No, I’m sorry did we meet before?”
"Yes,” Yair’s mother replied. “You see there is a particular reason I came into your store today. I used to live here, and this time although I was just passing by, I wanted to give you my business, even though I was only buying a few things.”
“What are you talking about?” Yoni’s mother asked.
The other woman answered, “Twenty years ago I used to live around here and came all the time to buy milk and bread. One day you noticed that I looked really down and you were very nice and asked me why I seemed so down and I confided in you. I told you that I was going through a very difficult time and on top of that I was pregnant and planning on having an abortion. As soon as I said “abortion” you called your husband over and the two of you seemed to forget about your own store and business, and just sat down and patiently listened to me. I still remember clearly what you said.
“You told me that it is true that I was going through a hard time but sometimes the good things in life come through difficulty, and the best things come through the biggest difficulties. You spoke of the joy of being a mother and that the most beautiful word to hear in the Hebrew language is “Ima” (mother) when spoken by one’s child. You both spoke and spoke until I was convinced that I actually should have this baby--so you see G-d paid you back!”
”What do you mean? asked Yoni’s mother”. The answer astounded and thrilled her.
“I had a boy twenty years ago that you saved by telling me to think twice before doing the abortion.” With happy tears she declared, "My beloved Yair wouldn’t have been alive if not for you. He was the one you were looking for. He was the one who grew up to save your son Yoni’s life!"
Note: This incredible story is true. The actual names are on file.
Adapted by Yerachmiel Tilles from friendsofefrat.org, the website of a wonderful organization, EFRAT, that dedicatedly (and non-violently!) works to prevent abortions by Jewish mothers in Israel, through counseling and financial incentives.
Listen to the words of a 12 year old: