And the Winners Are…

The TeenSpeak 2011 Essay Contest asked students to respond to one of the following three common pro-choice arguments:

  1. Don’t tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies.
  2. Abortion must remain legal to protect victims of rape and incest.
  3. If we don’t have legal abortion, the world will become overpopulated.

teenspeak-2011-essay-winnersThe winner of the first prize, a $1,000.00 scholarship, went to Victoria Holmen. Her essay is included below. Have a read—I think you’ll agree her essay is excellent. Second place, a $500.00 scholarship, went to Joey Pontarelli. His essay follows Victoria’s. Congratulations to Victoria and Joey!

First Prize: $1,000.00

In response to the pro-choice argument: “Don’t tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies.”

The culture of death, so prominent an element of our society today, has not become so because of the goodness of its mission or even the soundness of the arguments that uphold its ideals. Rather, the culture of death, and more specifically the abortion industry, has become prevalent due to the fact that it has dressed itself in fine garments to make its mission appear good. The arguments used to back its principles are just clouded enough by emotion to make the very questioning of them seem unmerciful. This is true with one of their principal arguments: “Don’t tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies!” any avid pro-choice advocate will angrily tell anyone protesting abortion. This argument, however, is flawed no matter how you look at it. A look at all of society will show that “telling women what to do” is no new concept. The entertainment industry tells women what ideals of beauty they are to adopt and imitate, no matter the cost to their health of mind and body. The fashion industry tells women how they are to dress, no matter how it affects their dignity and self-respect. The business world tells women to seek happiness in successful careers and prestigious offices. All three of these institutions tell women to disdain married life and motherhood. Yet none of these institutions are attacked by our society for their promotion of things women can and cannot do. Furthermore, the abortion industry itself tells women what to do with their bodies by telling them to do whatever they like with their bodies. Where is the freedom in choosing an action without knowing the consequences? This is not freedom, for freedom is found in knowledge and making free choices based on truth. The abortion industry promotes actions without exposing the true consequences of these actions. Yet, the consequences are grave and far from freeing. A sexual relationship without the lifelong bond of marriage opens the door, in addition to profound heartbreak and emotional scars, to an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy leaving a woman scared and often alone. This leaves her vulnerable to follow the culture of death and have an abortion. But while those who would provide this abortion are telling her that the pro-life protestors outside are trying to “tell her what she can and cannot do with her body,” they are, in fact, coercing her into having an abortion while still not giving her all the facts. Would a woman choose to have an abortion if she knew the health risks, including an increased likelihood of breast cancer, permanent sterility, and even death? Would a woman choose to have an abortion if she knew of the emotional scars she would have to bear for the rest of her life as a result? Would a woman choose to have an abortion if she had had an ultrasound and could see the child she was murdering? Perhaps not. Yet all of these facts are kept from her and she is left in the darkness of ignorance while being fed the lie that she is “freely” choosing what she can and cannot do with her body. Lastly, but certainly not of least importance is the fact that, by having an abortion, a woman is not merely choosing what to do with her own body, but her choice directly affects the life of another person: her child. If this woman exercises her “freedom” and chooses to have an abortion, it is not she that dies, but her unborn child. Do any of us have the right to decide if another should live or die, especially one who is innocent in every respect? How then is it a woman’s right to choose if her child, her helpless baby should live or die? The truth, then, is that it is not the pro-life movement that tells women what they can and cannot do with their bodies. Rather, the abortion industry specifically, and the culture of death generally promotes this myth about pro-life advocates to make their own cause look reputable and even compassionate. Yet it is only the pro-life movement that informs women of all the facts, hoping then that they will choose the truth and turn away from abortion. Only by knowing all the facts will women learn not what they can do with their bodies, but what they should do with their bodies, for their own good and the good of others, especially the children yet unborn.

Second Prize: $500.00

In response to the pro-choice argument: “Abortion must remain legal to protect victims of rape and incest.”

Pro-choice people argue that abortion must remain legal to protect victims of rape and incest. Getting an abortion due to a pregnancy from rape or incest can seem like a good, reasonable solution because it does away with the result of an evil act. However, in reality, it’s not very reasonable at all. Here is why. First off, facing the fact that 0.03% of abortions are performed on victims of rape or incest, begs the question: why is this argument raised so frequently? [1] Living through a rape is a terrible tragedy, something that scars a woman for the rest of her life. She is affected emotionally, physically and psychologically, with problems such as anxiety, depression, vaginal bleeding, urinary tract infection, self-blame, paranoia, avoidance, especially toward men, as well as flashbacks, which affect the victim’s view and use of her sexuality. After such a crime, she needs love, support and time to heal the wounds of this awful crime. In cases when a pregnancy results, does abortion assist this healing? Abortion, rather than ‘taking care of the problem,’ the pregnancy, actually adds to the pain. Girls who get an abortion after conceiving due to rape, are more likely to suffer from depression and six times as likely to commit suicide. [2] Sadly, women who have been raped and got an abortion feel twice victimized. On top of that, these women say it takes longer to heal from the abortion than from the rape. Also, they admit the primary reason for getting the abortion was because they felt pressure by those trying to help them. Abortion seemed inevitable. But, have not these women suffered enough? Why do they have to add the unforgettable heartache of abortion to the haunting wound of being raped? On a different note, giving birth to the baby has actually helped these women heal. 70-80% of victimized women who conceive choose to keep their babies. [3] They see giving birth as a positive, selfless, loving act that brings good out of evil and assists in their healing process. Moving from rape to incest, we see that opposition to abortion is even stronger. Victims pregnant due to incest hardly ever freely consent to abortion. In this case, the predator wants to hide the pregnancy and forces the victim to get an abortion, while she sees the pregnancy as a way out of the abuse. Being exposed by the pregnancy, the abuser will hopefully receive the consequences he deserves. Again, the hurt experienced through an abusive relationship is only increased by abortion’s lifelong agony. Offended by the argument that abortion should be legal in cases of rape and incest, one woman said, “I, having lived through rape, and also having raised a child ‘conceived in rape’ feel personally assaulted and insulted every time I hear that abortion should be legal because of rape and incest. I feel that we’re being used by pro-abortionists to further the abortion issue though we’ve not been asked to tell our side of the story.” [4] We see that those women whom this argument is for, argue against it. Aside from the many emotional and psychological complications such as depression, anxiety, guilt, lowered self-esteem, inability to communicate and suicidal thoughts, abortion is physically dangerous. Internal bleeding, breast cancer, cervical cancer, infertility and even death are only a few of the possible side effects of abortion. Frankly, abortion is a lose-lose ‘solution.’ There are thousands of crisis pregnancy centers throughout our country, ready to offer support and healing for women, especially those who have conceived due to rape or incest. From counseling to helping a woman through her pregnancy to aiding her with funds, food and clothing to raise her child or by setting up an adoption, a suitable and heroic choice, these centers exist to genuinely support woman. Ultimately, we see the many effects abortion has on woman and therefore conclude that abortion should be made illegal, especially in cases of rape and incest. Abortion is always wrong. It can never truly help anyone, and in cases of rape or incest only adds more pain to the existing hurt. Regardless of how a child comes into existence, it is always wrong to take the life of an innocent human being. Exceptions for abortion don’t exist, because abortion shouldn’t exist.

[1]. Pro-Life Action League, Sharing the Pro-Life Message, 34- 35. [2]. D.M. Fergusson, et al., “Abortion in Young Women and Subsequent Mental Health,” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 47:1 (January 2006), 16–24; Mika Gissler, et al., “Suicides After Pregnancy in Finland, 1987–94: Register Linkage Study,” British Medical Journal 313 (December 1996), 1431–1434. [3]. Mahkorn, “Pregnancy and Sexual Assault,” The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, eds. Mall and Watts (Washington, D.C., University Publications of America, 1979) 55-69. [4]. Reardon, et. al., Victims and Victors (Springfield, IL: Acorn books, 2000), 15-17.

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