The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has released a documentary film about a girl born with severe deformities whose parents refused to abort her.
Titled “The Pearl Brown Story,” the short film centers on the life of Pearl Brown, who had a rare brain disorder that eventually took her life less than a decade after she was born in 2012.
Known as Alobar holoprosencephaly, the condition causes a stalling in brain development and resulted in Pearl being born with a cleft lip and inverted nose.
Her parents, Eric and Ruth Brown, learned of her severe disorder while she was still in the womb, but refused to take the advice of doctors to abort the child.
Tragically, Pearl died on March 29, 2018, following unexpected complications regarding her pervasive health issues, leaving behind her parents and two siblings.
The ERLC film, which was released last week and posted on its website, features the Browns discussing their experiences of bringing Pearl to term and what it was like to live with her.
Elizabeth Graham, ERLC vice president of operations who oversees pro-life efforts for the SBC organization, said that the film was meant to be a reminder about the value of unborn life.
“We are always looking for new ways to remind the watching world about the intrinsic dignity of every life,” said Graham in a statement last week.
“We believe this story about the precious life of Pearl Brown, and the journey her parents took, will show the humanity of the most vulnerable among us — a needed reminder at a time when so many believe life can just be easily discarded.”
The film is not the first time that Eric Brown, a Tennessee photographer, has discussed his family’s experiences.
In January 2018, when Pearl was still alive, Brown spoke about his daughter and her medical issues before the third annual Evangelicals for Life gathering in Washington, D.C.
"We knew very well what would happen if we did [what the doctor suggested], that there was no way that Pearl's body had developed enough to survive outside of Ruth's womb," Brown said at the time.
"She was being sustained in there and God was still knitting her together. It seemed too cruel to us to take away the very system that was helping her broken body do what it was incapable of doing on its own."
Brown went on to tell those gathered at the 2018 pro-life event that he believed that "God is with Pearl and has not left her to her own devices."
“The promises that He made to her will, in large part, not be fulfilled until after her final breath. He cares for her, as she bears His image,” he continued.
“She, like all of us, is completely helpless otherwise. So if the theology that you are teaching, or the banner that you are waving, can't honestly be preached to Pearl in her current state, then it is probably not true. At the very least, perhaps you should hold it loosely.”