Minor spoiler alert: Plot points for this TV show are discussed below, but they're all in the pilot episode. Some of these plot points were revisited with more information in the most recent episode, but I intentionally avoid discussing those aspects below to avoid more significant spoilers. That is, I am intentionally revealing only the information given in the pilot. If you have never watched the series at all, what I give away is minor. If you're just missing the most recent episode and are very sensitive to spoilers, though, don't read this.
The plot of ABC’s fantastic series, Once Upon A Time, involves a curse placed on “fairytale” land, a place where all the fanciful creatures and people from fairy tales live. This curse took the characters to a place with no happy endings, namely the city of Storybrooke in Maine, in our world. However, Snow White’s daughter was protected from the curse by being placed in a magical wardrobe that sent her unscathed to our world, to live among us until she could be reunited with the residents of Storybrooke and somehow save them from the curse.
This magical wardrobe had a limit on how many people it could carry. The initial plan was for Snow White to get in the wardrobe before giving birth, so that she could help her daughter, the “savior” identified by the Blue Fairy, understand her destiny. Snow White’s husband, Prince “Charming”, could not go because the wardrobe could only hold one person. Unfortunately, Snow White gave birth early, and so the child had to be sent alone.
So, to re-cap: the wardrobe could only hold one person, namely a very near-term Snow White *or* her daughter once born.
In fairytale land, despite the Blue Fairy knowing the incredible potential of Snow White’s unborn daughter, it was never even a question as to whether or not Snow White could use the magical wardrobe while pregnant. After giving birth, however, the child had to go alone. Now, the reason that the wardrobe couldn’t send more people was because of the amount of magic it had left. It just didn’t have enough magic for more than one person.
Interestingly, I think this means that in the OUAT universe, fairy-tale land is pretty clearly on-board with life beginning after birth, not at conception. After all, if life began at conception, the tree’s magic could not have carried both Snow White and the unborn daughter. If it was some kind of issue of a baby taking less magic than a full grown person, Snow White could have gone along after giving birth. It is fairly clear that something magical (forgive the term) happened at the moment of birth that conveyed full “personhood” to Snow White’s daughter, at least in the eyes of Snow White, the Blue Fairy, and magic in general.
It’s a relatively subtle nod, but I think it’s a very cool thing. I do wonder whether it was a conscious decision by Kitsis and Horowitz (two former Lost writers who have shown amazing attention to detail in this series and that one) or a matter of plot necessity and never thought through. Even if it’s the latter, it goes to show that there is an inherent belief that a person becomes a person at birth, once separated from the mother, not as a zygote or embryo. Otherwise, someone would have raised it in the writer’s room or in any of several reviews the pilot went through.
I'm about to get into some things that are past the pilot, though still not super spoiler-y. Be aware. Read responsibly.
It makes you wonder if fairytale land is pro-choice, if such a concept even exists in that world. For example, does Rumpy perform magical abortions on demand (for a price, of course)? Rumpy does occasionally offer fertility assistance; maybe he does the opposite as well. Does the Evil Queen use some kind of magical birth control? (After all, we know she gets the occasional hook-up in fairytale land, not to mention having been married for quite awhile.) Do normal folk get abortions and such when the situation demands? I doubt the show will go there, but it’s fun to speculate.