Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Kaufman
Holy Angels Academy
The Intrinsic Rights of the Preborn
Human beings are valuable, no matter what their skills or talents or stage in life. This is something everyone knows, or at least, should know. But even among those who know this, the full scope of it still escapes them. If the value of a person does not depend on his ablilities or age or what he can offer to society, should not a preborn person be just as valuable? A preborn child is a human person from the moment of fertilization, which is when the sperm and the egg join to form a human being, called a zygote. Therefore, from that moment onward he has all the rights and privileges of a human being. As a human person, a preborn baby has value and dignity, the right to be given a chance to live, and also the right to our protection no matter the circumstances.
The value and dignity of human beings rests on our origin and our destiny: God. He made us in His image and likeness for a single purpose. That purpose is to be happy with Him forever in heaven. We as humans are His only creation made with this purpose, this destiny, in mind. All other creatures are finite beings made of matter. Humans alone have been given the gift that is an immortal soul and the promise of the resurrection of the body. As it is impossible for a preborn child to be at any point in his existence anything other than a human being, he must, from the very genesis of his life, have a human, immortal soul. And because he possesses this soul, the preborn child immediately has the value and dignity of any other human person. And as our value and dignity rest on something that is unchangeable, the abilites, talents, and age of a human being do not affect those rights that all humans hold dear.
Among these rights is the right to be given a chance to live. All preborn children deserve this chance, even if it is predicted that the preborn child will have a “poor quality of life.” Those children are typically those going to be born into extremely poor families in which it will be difficult or even impossible for the parents to provide for their child. Those children are also children who will be born to single mothers who will struggle to provide for their children for most of their lives. Still others, but most commonly perhaps, are those preborn children who have been diagnosed with disabilities such as Down syndrome. With these children, pro-choice society turns a 180. When it comes to people who are already born and who have disabilities, pro-choice advocates call themselves their allies and friends, ready to fight for their rights and privileges as human beings. But if that person is still inside his mother’s womb, the same people immediately jump to abortion as the solution. These children are not even given the chance to prove that, despite their state in life and their disabilities, they can live a truly meaningful life. The people who advocate for the killing of preborn children based on predicted quality of life have forgotten the intrinsic ability of humans to better ourselves. They ignore the countless real-life rags-to-riches stories, the kids in foster care who grow up to be successful and happy and loved, and the disabled people who accomplish more than the average able person can claim to have done. Nothing lasts forever. Everything changes eventually. Just because someone is born into poverty or underprivileged circumstances does not mean that that person will stay there forever. He is given a chance to rise above the place of his birth and find something better. This is the beauty of humanity.
Due to this ever-changing nature of life itself, the rights each person has as a human being and the fact that every preborn child is beyond a shadow of a doubt a human person, these preborn children deserve our protection. If we as humans help finite things such as animals and nature itself when they are in danger, how much more do the preborn children with immortal souls deserve it? Humans have a unique value that plants and animals and the environment will never possess—an immortal soul. We as fellow humans have a duty to protect and defend the helpless and the weak, especially when they do not have the voice to stand up for themselves. The preborn child is the weakest of the weak, the most defenseless of the defenseless, targeted in the place where he was supposed to be the safest. As human beings, preborn children must be protected, and as human beings we must protect them.
Our humanity is what defines us, what defines our entire lives. Our humanity, given to us by God, is the source of all our rights, our value, our dignity, our right to be given a chance to live, and our right to be protected. As humans, preborn children share these rights and privileges. They have the same value, dignity, right to be given a chance to live, and the right to our protection. If we deprive them or deny them these rights, we are no better than those who came before us and denied born humans these same rights for reasons nearly the same.