Tenth-grade winner, archdiocese's annual pro-life student essay contest
On January 4, 2017, The Atlantic published an article entitled “How the Ultrasound Pushed the Idea That a Fetus is a Person.” The point of the article was to imply that the ultrasound was somehow a political agenda-driven tool. But the pro-life answer to that headline should be “Of course. Scientific tools do indeed reaffirm our position.” This problem of disregarding science unless it suits our own opinion goes both ways. Pro-life Christians too often use a Bible that the other side does not believe in, while pro-choice people seem to have a penchant for ignoring science altogether, as in this case. But if we want to have a productive debate, we all must set aside our religious beliefs and our emotions, and use scientific facts to end the travesty of abortion.
The two most common arguments for abortion are that the fetus is not alive or that it is not separate from the mother. We can easily see, if we look closely, that the fetus is indeed alive. We have seen even without the ultrasound most of the seven characteristics of living things. The fetus moves, takes in materials for energy, gives off waste, obviously grows, takes in oxygen, and responds to stimuli, including pain later in the pregnancy. The fetus cannot yet reproduce, but neither can a 2-year-old, and nobody is suggesting we kill them. It also develops its own organs and systems that perform each of these functions, which calls into question a common pro-choice slogan: “My body, my choice.” Unfortunately, for the many people who chant this daily, the fetus is nowhere near a part of a woman’s body. The fetus has its own, separate body parts when it develops to a certain point, but the question must be whether to eliminate abortion from conception. So is a single-celled fetus “your body” and therefore “your choice”? To answer this question, we must ask more than how many arms or legs your body has. We must get right down to the roots. When a child is conceived, two cells with half-sets of DNA come together to form a single fully functional cell with a full set of DNA distinct from either parent. This is the only piece of information that matters. No, the fetus is never “your body” and it follows that it is never “your choice” to destroy it. So nobody needs to reference this Bible verse or that to support an argument because, from the microscope to the ultrasound, science has already shown just how separate, living, and human a fetus is.