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2023 National Right to Life Pro-Life Essay Contest: First place in the Senior Division

by | Mar 3, 2023

Editor’s note. We are reposting all six winners in NRLC Pro-life essay contest. Today finishes up the Senior Division, grade 10-12. Next week we will report the three winners in the Junior Division which is grades 7-9.

Why I am pro-life

By Elizabeth B.

Do humans truly have rights? According to the United Nations, “Human rights include the right to life and liberty. Freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more. Everyone is entitled to these rights, without discrimination.” However, how can we say all humans have rights if we don’t include the most precious of humans: the unborn?

The philosophical and religious belief that the fetus is undeniably a person is the basis for my belief that abortion is wrong. Conception is the point where we are created, where life begins and then extends through to our natural death.

As a future biochemistry and pre-med student, I am learning the scientific basis for how life works, which helps me to justify the right to life through facts and logic. According to Drs. Asim Kurjak and Ana Tripalo, “The biological line of existence of each individual, without exception begins precisely when fertilization of the egg is successful.” It is an indisputable fact that the fetus is a biological human from conception, and even pro-choice individuals probably would not dispute this. Why then is there a disconnect between my belief that a fetus has a right to life, and a pro-choice individual saying that a fetus is not truly human and can even be killed by its own mother? The difference is this belief in whether a fetus or baby is philosophically a person.

At what point is someone philosophically a person? Some have argued that personhood begins at 20 weeks, when the fetus can feel pain. But wouldn’t that mean anything that can feel pain should be considered human? Since we wouldn’t say an animal is human because it feels pain, we can extrapolate that we would not classify the humanness of people based on their ability to feel pain. Others have argued that self-awareness, which is absent in a fetus, constitutes personhood. However, newborns also are not initially self aware, yet the killing of a newborn is considered infanticide and is (thankfully) illegal. Therefore, the argument of self-awareness equating to humanness does not hold up. Thus, the classification of philosophical personhood cannot be legitimately based on a person’s abilities, such as pain perception or self-awareness.

With the beginning of philosophical personhood being impossible to define, we must rely instead on when biological personhood begins, and that is at conception. Thus, abortion should be illegal since it is the active killing of innocent human lives. Furthermore, we as a society cannot claim that human beings have rights if we still allow abortion to be legal. Easy access to abortion can lead to a devaluation of human life, where people see life as disposable. Without the recognition of the sanctity of life, we as a society will lose our moral compass and become indifferent to the dignity of all humans.

Categories: Pro-Lifers
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