Honorable Mention: Anna Schornagel
St. Michael the Archangel High School
Guide Them to Truth
From the moment of conception, God knows and loves His children. He creates humans out of love and instills them with inherent dignity and value. In recent times, however, a culture has arisen that dismisses the value of these lives. The support of abortion has risen in popularity in America, a fact that should break the hearts of people everywhere. This recent support of abortion is constructed on misinformation and fallacy. Both biblical and scientific evidence reveal that from the moment of conception, a human life is instilled with inherent dignity and worth. Catholics and pro-life people have a duty to defend these lives who cannot defend themselves, and that begins by better informing those supporters of abortion who have been misled.
Although the word “abortion” is never mentioned in the Bible, the Bible still manages to make the truth very clear to us. Psalm 139:13-16 reads:
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (New International Version)
Similarly, Job 31:15 carries the same theme, reading, “Did not he who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same one form us both within our mothers?” (New International Version). These verses, along with countless others, express the reality of the worth of preborn humans. God has a plan for every human life, and that plan begins at the moment of conception. It is never rightfully in the hands of another human to take the life of another person, born or preborn.
Unfortunately, not all people choose to follow the Bible, the word of God. For many, the proof within the Bible is not a strong enough argument to prove the immorality of abortion. Science, however, also discredits the argued morality of abortion. Many times, those who are in support of abortion use phrases such as “a clump of cells” to refer to a fetus, as to suggest that the being lacks biological complexity; this, however, is not the case. Early on in development, elements that reflect complexity are made apparent. For example, within five weeks, the embryo has formed three layers: the outermost will eventually form the fetus’ outer skin, eyes, inner ears, and outer nervous systems; the middle layer will become the heart and circulatory system, along with sourcing the bones, ligaments, and kidneys of the developing fetus; lastly, the innermost layer will form the intestines and lungs of the fetus. Although the embryo is underdeveloped and still dependent on the mother, he still shows significant complexity.
Many supporters of abortion have also coined the phrase, “My body, my choice.” This is an inherent fallacy, as the fetus is in fact distinct from the mother. From the moment of conception, an embryo shares DNA that is genetically unique from the mother. Although the fetus is reliant on the mother’s resources to grow and develop, he is not genetically a part of the woman’s body. The mother has not earned the right to take away the life of another human, even if he is inside of her.
Supporters of abortion also tend to argue that a fetus’ lack of physical and mental development allows for a deprivation of rights. This dismisses the inherent humanity of a fetus. A fetus is composed of unique human DNA, meaning that the fetus is human. A person’s capabilities and levels of development do not determine his rights; instead his worth is determined by his inherent humanity. If people were to base worth on capability, then a person who is physically or mentally impaired—such as someone in a coma or someone who has a genetic mental disability—would hold less inherent dignity than a healthy, stable person. This, of course, is not the case. Those who are impaired still hold their human worth, as their capabilities do not define their humanity. Similarly, if innate humanity was not determinate of worth, then there would be reason to conclude that a dog holds more worth than a human baby; after all, a dog’s physical capabilities far outweigh that of a baby who cannot even lift his head on his own, and a dog’s comprehension and learning skills are superior to that of a baby. We hold even the most helpless of babies to the same worth as a grown man, because his dignity does not lie in his abilities, but in his humanity. The same applies to a preborn baby, who is just as human as any other.
In modern America, it is practically impossible to live without meeting and talking to people who advocate for abortion; more often than not, these advocators are friends, family, or coworkers. With a topic as sensitive as abortion, it can seem scary to speak up to these people in our lives and risk creating tension in these relationships, but a discussion about abortion does not have to turn contemptuous. We can discuss the sensitive topic with respect while still conveying a logical, convincing argument. The goal is not to shame those in support of abortion, but instead to guide them to the truth.
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Fetal Development: What Happens During the 1st Trimester?” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 12 July 2017, mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/prenatal-care/art-20045302.
New International Version. Biblica, 1978.