By MADDIE SMITH
Pro-life is an ambiguous political football in today’s terms, but to me, it is the backdrop on which I place all my beliefs. I am not just pro-life in that I am “anti-abortion”; I am anti-euthanasia, anti-death penalty and anti-anything that tears down the sacred value of human dignity. However, the main connotation in today’s world is “anti-abortion,” and it is an issue of substance. At the bottom of all the talking points, however, the debate about abortion comes down to one thing: is the unborn child a human being or not?
In 1973 when Roe vs Wade was decided by the Supreme Court, the technology that exists today was not in use. Since that decision, science has come a long way to find certain facts to be true. For example, research has shown that your heart started to beat when you were only six weeks old. Many women don’t even realize they are pregnant until this time. At 20 weeks, a child has fully developed arms and legs, and he or she is developing the finer regions of the brain. Around 24 weeks, you had your own unique fingerprint and blood type. These facts go a long way towards the point that a child is not simply “part” of his or her mother like another limb; rather, that child is a fundamentally different, significant person.
If that child is scientifically another human being separate from myself, what does that imply when it comes to abortion? It is a question of when our rights as human beings begin. My religious convictions tell me that when a child is conceived, he or she has been blessed with rights from God that no man should take away. However, the document that governs our nation also tells us that human beings have certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Life is the most fundamental right guaranteed to all people that live in the United States. An unborn child ought to enjoy that right as much as a toddler, a teenager, and an adult.
This is the fundamental reason why I am pro-life. Each human being has something valuable to offer the world and deserves a chance at life. This doesn’t stop after the child is born, however. While children are a huge part of the pro-life mindset, the elderly are often ignored for the same reasons as unborn children: convenience. Elderly people are often overlooked because they seem to have fulfilled their productive lifespan. Indeed, many people put their aging parents in nursing homes simply to get them out of the way. My grandmother is afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, and because of it, she no longer knows my name or anything about me. During our family’s struggle with her illness, it has become clear to me that her unique dignity and worth has not diminished because of her disease. She deserves to be valued and as loved by my family, me and the world as she was when she was in the prime of her life. The same goes for anybody suffering from a chronic mental or physical illness. Pro-life does not stop after birth.
People are the most valuable resource on planet Earth. Each human being has a value and a worth so beyond comprehension that it is unthinkable to deny a single person the dignity they possess. Pro-life doesn’t just mean anti-abortion; it means that the foundation of all my values rest on the idea that human life has inherent value. My hope is that a broader application of the pro-life mindset will not only end abortion in my lifetime but also promote a culture of growth and human dignity in the United States and across the world.
ILLUSTRATION BY LASHA STEWART