Life through Stephanie Keene’s Eyes

Apart from the hope of Christ’s atonement, the greatest consolation of humankind exists in the most basic of biblical doctrines: the personhood of man. In a society where the perception of individual value resonates from Hitler’s utopian search for “the fittest”—-where billionaire henchmen gather to propagate their cause of heavily decreasing human population, clerical wolves deem abortion a “blessing,” and those unable to contribute to society are abandoned to an end of physical starvation—-the story of Stephanie Keene provides a distinct contrast of the love of Jesus Christ.

Perhaps more commonly known as “Baby K,” Stephanie was diagnosed as anencephalic while still in her mother’s womb. Though forewarned by neurologists and pediatricians that her daughter’s life would not exceed her birth, Ms. Keene refused to have her pregnancy terminated upon the basis of her confidence that God was the Giver of Life. “Baby K” was born to Virginia’s Fairfax Hospital in 1992.

While the brain typically develops in the fetus at around 22 days following conception, Stephanie—-at birth—-possessed only a fragment of brain tissue developed from the neural tube. Though medical advisors strongly prescribed a “Do Not Resuscitate” order after some time of occasional ventilation treatments, Ms. Keene bravely opposed the act in favor of prolonging her daughter’s life for as long as possible. Responding to Ms. Keene’s persistent plea that “a firm Christian faith [insists] that all life should be protected,” the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act interceded upon the desperate mother’s behalf, providing the continuity of treatments whenever Baby K’s respiratory system suffered. Miraculously, “Baby K” lived to be six months old—-a miraculous feat to the few hours previously allowed by medical assumptions.

Any right to personhood does not relate to our abilities nor achievements; it is an inherent gift, declared and eternally imputed by God (Jeremiah 1:5). Tiny Stephanie’s equally small lifespan serves as yet another reminder of the fact that life is sacred at every stage from initial conception to last breath. Why should we, as fellow human beings, presume the taking of life? We must not fail to recognize that if “contribution” denotes the value of life, we should have no place in a universe sustained by an utterly sovereign One Who never wants nor needs!

“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?”

Psalm 8:4

Whitney Dotson

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