Abortion Urban Legend?

A woman’s son is in the military. Her son’s life is saved by another soldier. She eventually meets her son’s savior and his mother. It turns out that she had met the other mother years earlier and talked her out of having an abortion.

A heart-warming story, but did it really happen?

Certainly sounds like a work of fiction.


I agree that it sounds like a made-up story but how do you flat out say no it never happened?

You’re right, we’re not in a position to conclusively state that. However, I’d bet big money against long odds that we won’t see solid evidence that it did happen.

Without more details, it would seem to be impossible to verify this story. Do you have names or dates?

The same way I flat out say God doesn’t exist. Feel free to prove me wrong, but until then, I’m not buying it.

It is true and it happened on the Texas side of my family. The young soldier that was saved was cousin Lee Harvey Oswald and the family has always been eternally gratefully even after the unpleasantness that transpired later.

Unlikely in the extreme - but we’d call B.S. on that whole Edwin Booth saving Robert Todd Lincoln story except for the fact that it was true. We ought to keep that in mind - and just dismiss the story as unlikely without boxing ourselves in by claiming it to be untrue or impossible.


the two propositions are essentially different, though. God’s existence is unproveable, and therefore we can flat out deny that he exists, and dismiss any description of him and of the afterlife. This abortion story, however, is proveable - it is theoretically possible to amass empirical evidence to prove that it did or did not transpire as described in the OP.

Of course, you’re totally free to flat out deny anything you like but to me, the god analogy is not apt.

This story gives a lot more information. According to the story, the incident happened in Israel in December (no year was specified). The soldier who was shot was named Yoni Harel and he was from a place called Kiryat Malachi and was serving in the Golani Brigade. The soldier who saved his life was named Doron Halpern who was from Kfar Saba. Harel was shot by a sniper named Jamal al Khadouri who fired from the Salheda ibn Salhera mosque.

If this story is true, this should be enough information to find a valid cite.

I couldn’t find any mention of this incident, nor of an injury of a Yoni Harel in Israeli media.

According to Little Nemo’s link (which I’m impressed by: nice google-fu there), it’s from a book called Stories with a Twist by a “popular storyteller and columnist” (and novelist) named Nachman Seltzer. From a review of one of his novels:

So it seems that Seltzer’s stories are described as “dramatized non-fiction”, but I don’t know of any sources backing up the “non-fiction” part as opposed to the “dramatized” part.

I had not previously run across the genre of Orthodox Jewish inspirational glurge,* since here in the US we get mostly the Christian variety, so it’s interesting to see what it’s like.

*Note: the use of the term “glurge” doesn’t automatically imply that the story in question must be apocryphal, although in this case, that’s the way I would be inclined to bet.

My mother talked a young, unmarried woman who was living in an abusive family out of having an abortion. Good thing Louise Cowell didn’t kill her preborn baby. Good thing the world was not spared the legacy of Ted Bundy.*

*for all I know, the above story could have happened.

I can’t take any credit for it. It was brazil84’s link.


Oh, we have plenty of that stuff as well. We Orthodox Jews believe in a concept called “Hashgacha Pratis”, loosely translated as “divine supervision at the individual level.” We believe there is no such thing as coincidence, that G-d guides people and things to where they need to be when they need to be there. This has led to a genre called “Hashgacha Pratis stories”, which the more cynical amongst us would call “glurge.” Enough such stories (assuming they are true) certainly can inspire one to believe that there is a higher purpose in every little thing that happens.

I would certainly hope that anyone printing such stories with intention to inspire faith would make sure their facts are verified before printing them. I’m not posting to vouch for any particular author, just to confirm that such stories are alive and thriving in Orthodox Jewish circles.

It’s fascinating that the storyteller knew the name of the sniper, too.

This fable could of course be turned in the opposite direction as well. Suppose the woman’s son were to be shot by a sniper who turned out to be the son of a second woman whom the first woman had talked out of having an abortion? Whatever one’s reasons may be for supporting or opposing abortion rights, it doesn’t seem to me that these little parables of unknowables add much to the analysis.

Oops! Sorry. Nice work, brazil84, or was that link the place from which you originally learned about this story?