OPINION: Considering life on Lincoln’s birthday

Isaac Martin, Political Contributor

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Public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.” -Abraham Lincoln

As we commemorate America’s 16th President’s 209th birthday, our country lies in similar straits as antebellum America: deeply divided and riven with strife. One of the most controversial issues faced by our society as a nation is abortion. According to the Pew Forum, 57 percent of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases. Though popular opinion is important, I believe the majority of Americans are wrong.

Is it a life?

People object to the pro-life message because they don’t believe the fetus is a child. So when does life begin? It appears to me there are only three choices: life must start either before fertilization, at fertilization or after fertilization. Life can’t begin before fertilization: sperm don’t spontaneously become babies. If life begins after fertilization, it would be tough to pinpoint the exact instant it begins.

We know toddlers don’t simply appear, they were babies first. But that begs the innocent question, where do babies come from? They couldn’t have just materialized, and so we continue going farther and farther back in the progression. This really leaves only one true choice: life must begin at fertilization. Before conception there exist two disparate entities that can not produce life of themselves. At conception, they unite and life begins.

I’m pro-life, except…

Many people will agree to the above and yet are quick to mention exceptions where abortion is deemed morally acceptable. They argue abortion is justified in cases of rape, incest or when the mother is young and struggling financially. All of these cases are very difficult.

Imagine a child who was born into a life of poverty. Would it be right for the mother to kill that born child because of her financial difficulties? Their lives would be difficult, yet no one would say to that mom “you should kill your child so you can live better.” Why then is it right to kill a pre-born child? Imagine someone else, a teenage girl, who has been kidnapped in a big city and raped, finding out later she’s pregnant.

Well, that’s Leanna’s story.

From abuse to love

Pro-life speaker Stephanie Gray, in a talk last summer at Google, shared Leanna’s story with the tech giant’s employees. Growing up in Mexico City, Leanna was kidnapped by two men and brutally raped over the course of two days when she was 12 years old. The experience was horrific. When Leanna found out that she was pregnant, her doctor offered her abortion. She asked if it would help her forget the rape or help ease her suffering. The doctor shook his head and Leanna declined the abortion.

In the coming months after the rape, Leanna’s life became hellish. No matter how many times she showered, she could not get rid of the filthy feeling. Thoughts of suicide began flitting to and fro in her mind. Yet, whenever her mind turned toward suicide, she remembered she had a child and had to care not only for herself, but also for the child. These thoughts sustained her and kept her from killing herself. Leanna had saved her daughter, but her daughter really saved her.

What grows in the womb isn’t simply a fetus, it’s a life.