Dear Mr. or Madam President,
Please place your hand over your heart. Feel the beating of your heart. This is how you know that you are alive. Did you know that an infant in the womb develops a heartbeat just 18 days after conception?
How are we as Americans supposed to define when life begins? Well, to begin, we must first think logically about this matter, as it is a very serious one. Currently in the United States, there are laws which vary state by state that prohibit a woman from having a voluntary abortion past a certain point in her pregnancy. So it seems evident that our society agrees that life does begin at some point before birth. But when? Where do we draw the line? At 42 days of development, the unborn child has detectable brain waves. At eight weeks, all body systems are present. At 12 weeks, the baby has developed vocal chords and can cry. At 20 weeks, he or she can feel pain. And on average, at 23 weeks, the child can survive if he or she is delivered. It would be silly to say that life starts at a specific point in the middle of fetal development. The fact of the matter is simple: a developing person is still a person. Therefore, it is only logical to reason that life starts at conception.
When a child is killed outside of the womb, it is seen as inhumane and as one of the worst crimes a person can commit. Yet, inside the womb, a child is not considered alive because it is less developed than children outside the womb, and killing the unborn child is considered a “responsible decision.” This I don’t understand. What is so responsible about taking a life? Saying that a one-year-old has more dignity than a baby in the womb is like saying that an 18-year-old has more dignity than a one-year-old simply because they are further developed; it just doesn’t make sense. That is as ridiculous as saying one person has more dignity than another based on the color of their skin. Life in all forms has dignity.
In addition to the aforesaid logical inconsistencies in the penal system, pregnant women on death row cannot be executed according to federal law in the United States. Of course no ethical human would let a pregnant woman be killed because society values the life within her womb. Once again, it is clear that society knows life begins before birth, but why is it that we only recognize it in some cases, and not others?
After the Holocaust ended in the mid-1940s, Americans swore that never again would we let humanity do something so cataclysmic to our own people because we value the life of human beings. Yet, since abortion was legalized in the United States in 1973, 55 million babies have been killed due to this atrocity. Fifty-five million! That is five times the number of people killed in the Holocaust, which is the largest recorded genocide in all of human history. Why are we still letting this killing go on?
Many argue that women will still have abortions even if it becomes illegal. But the reality is, if our government will choose to stand up for what is right and to respect life, our society will eventually mold to that ideology. When slavery in the United States was abolished, all Caucasians did not automatically begin treating African Americans with respect. It took many generations to see African Americans as equals. And it may take even longer than that for our society to fully recognize the life within unborn infants, but just because everyone does not see the life and dignity within our tiny brothers and sisters does not mean that that life and dignity is not there.
As Americans, we believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We believe in standing up for those who are voiceless. We believe in giving everyone the opportunity to pursue their dreams. I am only a high school student, but you are my President now, and you have the power to do something about this. When we place our hands over our hearts to say the Pledge of Allegiance, we say, “…with liberty and justice for all.”
Are unborn children not included in that all?
Sarah M. (17)