Released

Released

Cinthia Jahnsen

“We gain control of many things. But we had to let go of others.”                                            – The Giver, Lois Lowry.

Released: to be set free; let go; allowed to leave; set at liberty. These are just a few definitions for released. It doesn’t sound too bad when you think of it in a liberating way, right? I recently reread the book, “The Giver” by Lois Lowry. I think I was in the 7th grade when I last turned its pages. I remember really enjoying the book but not fully understanding it. The story takes place in a future dystopian society, where “sameness” has tailored a peaceful people and a safe world. Memories are few and history is not something people remember, except for the Giver and the Receiver of Memory. Being “released” was something that was spoken of in the community but not truly understood. If identical twins were born into the community, one must be “released” to minimize confusion among its members. When an elderly person reached a certain age, regardless of health, he was “released” right after being honored with a beautiful celebration of his life. If someone made constant mistakes or did not fit the community ideals, he was “released” as to ensure that society had only the right kind of citizens.

People in the community did not think much of being released. Most assumed being released meant being sent somewhere else to live. However, the main character of the story learned that being released meant having one’s life ended without consent.

Reading this book again made me cringe. Being released without having a choice, without having a say, without truly understanding what is happening sounds pretty unfair to me. Wouldn’t you be horrified to live in a world where you could be released, set free, set at liberty, for simply being a twin? For simply existing when others wished you didn’t?

Between 2010 and 2014 there were 56.3 million abortions worldwide. Worldwide, an average of 28 out of every 1,000 woman have an abortion, with Europe having the highest rate of 43 abortions per 1,000 . 56.3 million unborn “released”. What if that unborn child could be a musical prodigy like Beethoven? What if one of those babies could revolutionize technology like Steve Jobs? To me, pro-choice is a deceptive term. Yes, women should have a right to choose how their bodies are treated, but that choice does not extend to the life of her unborn child. What right does any person have to decide the fate of a helpless being, especially when that decision results in death? Why not choose instead to give the gift of life to someone praying and hoping for a child? A bald eagle, its nest and egg have more rights under the law than an unborn human being. Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the penalty for removing, handling, or killing an eagle or its egg includes a maximum penalty of 2 years in jail with a $250,000 fine. When a man is caught committing a crime, he is penalized for his actions. When a person develops lung cancer for smoking cigarettes for twenty years, that is the consequence of his own actions. When someone gets all his meals from a drive-through window, its no surprise that the scale might have an unfriendly response. Currently, the only penalty for having an abortion is freedom from the natural consequence of sexual intercourse.

 

In “The Giver”, Lois Lowry wrote: “It’s the choosing that’s important, isn’t it?”

  • Choose to abstain
  • Choose to protect
  • Choose to be educated
  • Choose to prevent
  • Choose to give life to another
  • Choose to accept the consequences of your own actions

We can choose to teach our children that every action has a reaction. We can choose to learn from the past and apply it to the future. We can choose to do the things we do, not because we can, but because it’s right. Yes, it is easier than ever to choose to have an unborn child “released”, but what do we lose in the process?

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