By Kristin Wahlquist
It is impossible to calculate the value of a life; things learned, people touched, and memories created. Each life is both incredible and irreplaceable. Every life begins when two microscopic cells unite. Although these special cells cannot be seen with the naked eye, they hold so much potential. Society as a whole places a high value on life and what one can accomplish during their few short years on Earth, yet more than twenty-one percent of pregnant women choose to end the very lives they have just created. The contradiction here is mind-numbing.
Some may challenge biology saying that destroying an unborn fetus is not harming a human life, but research indicates otherwise.
- The cardiovascular system is the first major system to function. At about 22 days after conception the child’s heart begins to circulate his own blood, unique to that of his mother’s, and his heartbeat can be detected on ultrasound.
- At just six weeks, the child’s eyes and eyelids, nose, mouth, and tongue have formed.
- Electrical brain activity can be detected at six or seven weeks, and by the end of the eighth week, the child, now known scientifically as a “fetus,” has developed all of his organs and bodily structures.
- By ten weeks after conception the child can make bodily movements.
Considering the facts listed above, it is difficult to ignore the evidence that a baby is a human being—even before it is born. Each human life begins this way, gradually progressing—first, inside the womb then independently. Life is life, regardless of how simple or dependent it may be. No life is perfect, not you, not me.
Yet, some still argue that a fetus’s birth defects should be ground for terminating that child. When some parents find out about chromosomal defects and other ailments with their baby, it can lead them to get an abortion. Human anatomy explains the complexity and functions of the human body. There are multiple systems functioning at the same time and there are times that something will surely go wrong. So why then, when every body is imperfect, would we take away the chance for another imperfect human to live? An imperfect life is still a life worth living.
Even when a fetus appears to be healthy, some opt to end the life of their unborn child due to their personal health, financial reasons or completed family size. When my parents found out they were pregnant with me, they had each of those “logical” reasons to get an abortion. I am the fourth child in my family. To some, four children would seem outrageous. Not only that, but my older sister had just been born and adopted into the family—less than a month before. My dad was already working hard to pay the bills and provide a moderate life for his wife and three children. My mom was busy meeting the demands of a newborn baby and caring for her two other young children. But regardless of the emotional stress of carrying and bearing a child, the physical labor and love that would come throughout the rest of their lives, the money spent on everything from diapers to college, and the fact that they would have two daughters a short 8 ½ months apart—the thought of an abortion never crossed my parents’ minds. Rather than choosing an abortion, they choose to be responsible for the choice they had made and let me live. To them, it wasn’t really a choice at all. The value of life was far greater than any hardship I would bring.
Because of my mother’s choice, I have been given the chance to live. I have traveled the world from the ancient city of Rome to the great Niagara Falls, from the beautiful west coast to the rainy streets of London. I have learned to create, to sew and bake. I have learned to be loved and to share that love. I have gained much knowledge and been touched by countless friends and created millions of memories. Without the choice of my mother, none of this would be possible.
Life is not just about a seemingly “perfect” human body. It is about truly living, and no matter our bodies or our circumstances we can all truly live, but first we must be given the opportunity. It is impossible to calculate the value of a life. Taking away a human life for personal convenience, health, already completed family size or financial stress is an assault on the value of every human being’s life.
Kristin Wahlquist is junior studying Marriage and Family Studies major at Brigham Young University-Idaho. She’s the middle child of a family of seven kids – one boy and six girls. She loves families and truly believes they are the basic unit of our society and is excited to share that understanding. “Human life is the greatest creation of all and needs to be protected at all stages.”