The Sanctity of Life
Published: Friday, October 22, 2010
Updated: Monday, May 23, 2011 16:05
The "sanctity of human life" is often viewed as a catch phrase used by people who want to deny women the right to control their own bodies. However, I believe that the sanctity of human life is grounded in a deeper belief in the miracle of life.
That miracle is exemplified in the process that occurs during the development of each human being.
A fertilized egg has all of the genetic information needed to produce new life at the moment of conception. That means that everything from eye color to the number of hairs that that person will grow in their lifetime has already been determined.
At the end of three weeks, the brain begins to form. Though I consider this to be a crucial milestone in proving this entity to be a human being, Dr. Ian Gallicano of Discovery Health asserts that at this point, the human embryo is not distinguishable from that of a pig or a mouse in appearance.
By the end of four-and-a-half weeks, the heart cells have begun to form. Interestingly, these particular cells began to flutter soon after the egg is implanted in the uterus.
According to Discovery Health, by the fifth week, "the embryo grows more than a million new cells every minute" as the organs are all signaled to begin developing. By six weeks, the embryo has formed a separate circulatory system from its mother.
I believe that this evidence shows that this little entity - weighing not even an ounce at this point and less than half an inch long - is indeed alive. The process that occurs during a human's development gives license to declare that life as sacred.
But the sanctity of human life doesn't stop there. The individuality of each human being is truly astounding and strange compared to the monotonous design of other creatures.
Think of it: it is a well-known insult (and a lie) to claim that a race of people all look "alike." Marks of individuality are present in each person.
Despite the age-old process of reproduction, you are literally the only person in the history of the world who has your fingerprints. Your voice is matchless - you are genuinely and completely "one in a million." I believe that that is due to the intentions of a Creator, but as I have already stated, "science" tends to design each person in such a unique fashion.
Because of this, I cannot accept that the termination of a pregnancy is simply about a woman's right to choose what to do with her body. I wonder about the right of an unborn child to develop and live.
At the same time, there are difficult circumstances that can lead a woman to decide to have an abortion.
I think that those of us who are pro-life have to be careful not to condemn women who have made the decision to terminate their pregnancies or are considering doing so. Rather, we can work to assist women who find themselves at such a critical crossroads.
Volunteer at crises pregnancy centers or adoption agencies, donate baby items and offer your time and services to organizations that work to support women who find themselves in such a difficult situation.
If you can change the mind of one woman through your actions, you will literally save a life by giving a human being the opportunity to live.
Tenell Felder, '11, is double majoring in Political Science and Communications Studies