Mary, Mother of the Word Incarnate

Mary, Mother of the Word Incarnate
Pray for us, oh Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Monday, November 19, 2012

My Son's College Application Essay on Abortion

My son wrote this essay for one of his college applications.

Honors Essay
            Public opinion is a complex, inconsistent, mutable animal.  A society's very definition of "right" and "wrong" are relative to location, era, demographics, and a plethora of other complicated, interrelated variables.  We can see with little difficulty the immense changes in American values over the last fifty years.  In the midst of all of the social changes that the last half-century has brought us, many of our standards have leaned towards tolerance rather than judgment, usually positively (or at least neutrally) affecting the values of our society.  But in one particular area, this permissive philosophy has gone too far.  Specifically, the morality of "terminating" a pregnancy based solely on socioeconomics, public image, and convenience needs to be called into question.  The ethics of abortion is a complex subject that needs to be analyzed methodically from both sides of the debate. 
With Roe v Wade, abortions performed by licensed professionals were legalized in the United States with very few restrictions in response to a variety of arguments made by pro-choice advocates.  They argue that a woman has the right to decide what happens within her own body, regardless of the implications.  In choosing not to birth a child, a woman potentially prevents a child from being born into a situation in which its parents either cannot or do not wish to support it.  Also, this woman avoids the shame of an unwanted pregnancy, preserving her public image.  Rationalizing the abortion procedure itself, they state that fetuses are not entirely human because they are not fully developed and are unable to survive outside of the uterus.  Fetuses that are less than about twenty weeks old are unable to feel pain, and therefore purportedly, no harm is done. 
However convincing these points may initially appear, they crumble under closer inspection.  To be considered ethical, abortion must be clearly differentiated from murder, the unlawful killing of one human being by another, especially with premeditated malice.  From fertilization, zygotes (and later fetuses) are both biologically living and genetically human.  The DNA of a man, from in utero formation to old age, remains unique to each individual and distinctly human.  The only physical differences between a fetus and an infant are resultant of developmental stage.  No amount of rationalization and euphemisms can refute these facts.  Killing any human on the basis of its ability to feel pain is clearly unacceptable, as is killing any human on the basis of its age or physical traits.  In choosing abortion over adoption, a woman denies her child any potential to lead a satisfying life by flat out ending it.  But perhaps the most chilling motive of all is the decision to kill another human being in order to appear "responsible" to friends, family, and coworkers. 
In response to Anatole France's question, the foolishness or righteousness of an idea is intrinsic, not determined by the opinion of the masses.  When we debate the morality of issues, we need not listen to others, but the truth within the issue itself. 

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