Honorable Mention: Anastasia Lyons
Corde Ecclesiae Academy
Let Us Restore Joy!
As the fourth child of nine, I have a good idea of what babies are like—how precious, soft, and beautiful new life is, and how much joy can be brought to a mother and a home in such an exquisitely small bundle. I also know what it feels like to be loved by a mother. My parents waited for me with the expectant joy of St. Elizabeth and Blessed Mother and knew that I was someone from the moment that God breathed life into my soul. I love talking to people about how beautiful birth and babies are. Even the pain of birth brings forth such joy that even non-Christians seek it and take delight in motherhood. I love life at all its stages and in all its variations, and it confuses me when someone, particularly a peer, claims to be a good person and still supports abortion. Being “good” necessarily means not murdering or contributing to murders. The preborn child is a person. Murder is always wrong. And abortion is murder. My generation has been given a legacy of confusion on this basic point of goodness, and I deeply desire to change that cultural mistake, not only to stop abortion, but to restore joy to LIFE.
Every preborn child is a human being, a person, who possesses the intrinsic right to life from the moment of conception. At this time in history, such a statement is unpopular and politically incorrect, but it is still true. This essay is not a scientific treatise but an appeal to the mind and heart. Scientific consensus has already proven that a preborn baby, from the moment of conception, is a human person. The evidence is abundant and available, not only to select scientists but also to the average person. In our age of technology, the abortion debate has moved on from “Is the preborn child human?” (he/she certainly is!) to “Can we kill the preborn child?”
This is the question that my generation must be prepared to answer and it is the heart of my appeal to my peers. We must have a proper horror of abortion and also a commitment to restoring love of life and a fullness of joy. If you are earnestly searching for the truth, you will find it. The truth is that, from the moment of conception a preborn baby is a person with the same right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as anyone else. No argument about dependency, disability, or whether he is wanted can change the fundamental personhood of babies. Those arguments inevitably lead to the atrocities of slavery (like the African American enslavement in North America) and murder of those who are seen as worthless (like the Jews of Nazi Germany). The basic rights of the human person are not relative; there are no “degrees” of personhood that a child attains as he or she grows, learns, or gains independence or knowledge. Personhood cannot be assigned to anyone based on preference, emotion, culture, or because they are in a position of power. Our intrinsic value comes from God alone. If this is not true, then any kind of murder is justifiable.
Murder is always wrong. The majority of civilized people agree on this point because it is a natural law written on our hearts. When we ignore this part of our humanity, we become capable of committing any atrocity, including the murder of children, even tearing them violently from the safety of their mothers’ wombs. Most people recognize the inherent value and dignity that human beings possess and deserve, as opposed to, say, an asparagus plant or animal. That is not to say that people should mistreat creation, only that we know that human life has a different value. This is why, historically, when one group of people wishes to overpower another, they make laws that (legally) abolish their personhood. Again, this is how slavery was implemented.
Knowing that the Constitution protected the rights of persons, slave owners declared black people non-persons. This is what is happening today with the preborn in America and all over the world. Killing a fetus (which actually means “offspring”) is no different than killing a four year old or a 40 year old. Murder is always wrong, yet people who wish to kill children change the language of personhood in order to allow for the atrocity.
The preborn are no less human than the born and are just as precious and valuable. Therefore, the premeditated, brutal, killing of these babies is murder. The real question is not about the personhood of the fetus; rather, it is about the state of mind of those who support abortion. A person cannot be “good” and support abortion. Even people who are desperately seeking self-preservation are undermining the good of humanity by murdering a child to protect their own lives. Suffering is difficult and parenting is challenging, but do we really want to live in a world where the intrinsic value of the weak can be determined only by those who are stronger? To give some the power to say whether or not a person is a person? There must be consistency rooted in truth or there is inevitable chaos and horror. It is always the truth that every human being is a person and has inherent rights. Those in favor of abortion must either be ignorant of the truth or choosing to support evil. This is nothing new or shocking, it is really only a condemnation of murder. Whether one is a Christian, Buddhist, or an atheist, can we honestly look each other in the eyes and say; “I know that the preborn are human persons, but I don’t care. I reserve the right to murder these babies if I so choose.” That is essentially what we are saying if, with full knowledge of the truth, we choose to support abortion.
Because abortion is murder, we cannot support this horror, nor allow it to continue. Nor can we allow our minds to be confused by those who promote abortion. This abomination must be ended. To those who have been directly affected by abortion, I won’t presume to understand your pain. I don’t. My position is not a condemnation of the individual but a proclamation of rights and truth. To say that this atrocity needs to stop does not ignore the gentle mercy of God.
This is a call to all of my peers. Since abortion was decriminalized (and before), we have had a plethora of good arguments, essays, and talks about the value and beauty of life. Unfortunately, there are many who know the science of life and simply do not care. We must be the generation that cries “Enough!” and then lives that conviction. We must be the generation that restores the holy joy of St. Elizabeth when she heard the news of Mary’s pregnancy: “For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.” Help me create greater respect for life and save these precious lives. Let us end this age of atrocity and restore a culture of JOY.