COLUMN: When does life end?

Michelle Park

Beginning today, barring an overturn of a Sept. 8 ruling, Ohio abortion clinics will have new rules to follow. According to the Akron Beacon Journal, the rules involve a more stringent requirement for parental consent and meetings between patients and doctors to exchange mandated information 24 hours before an abortion.

During the past week, Judge John Roberts has been grilled about his position on abortion rights. A good number of American citizens fear that Roberts, who has been nominated for the position of chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, will attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade, the case that legalized abortion in 1973.

The abortion debate is not new. There are two well-known sides to the debate. Some consider themselves pro-life and support an unborn baby’s right to life. Others consider themselves pro-choice and support a woman’s right to choose.

I consider myself socially pro-choice and personally pro-life. I believe that the government should not control the functions of a woman’s body. Instead, I believe a woman’s ethics and morals should do the controlling. In my case, and in the cases of many others with whom I associate, ethics and morals dictate that adoption is the best option when unplanned pregnancies occur.

Many who disagree, who believe that abortion is a viable option when mistakes happen, argue about when life truly begins. Some say a baby is not truly a baby in the early stages of pregnancy. Instead, it is a ball of cells. It is an organism. It is not a human being, period.

I do not argue about when life begins. Instead, I pose a simple question.

“When does life end?”

When does a ball of cells not become a baby? When does a baby not become a child?

Forget about beginnings, organisms and balls of cells. Forget about scientists and medical professionals attempting to determine when a fertilized egg begins to develop into a baby, when an organism in the womb begins to feel pain.

Ask yourself: When does the life of a fertilized egg end? The answer is simple. Pregnancy ends with miscarriage or abortion.

Thus, instead of arguing about the technicalities of life’s inception, I argue about the basics of life’s end. I argue that when a woman has an abortion, she destroys something – whether it is classified as life or not – that would have become something living had she not opted to undergo surgery, take a pill or have an injection.

The problem I have with abortion is not that it is the murder of a ball of cells. When I think about abortion, I think of what that ball of cells could have become. Had it been permitted to grow and be born, it would have become a he or she, a girl or boy, a man or woman.

I, personally, do not care to argue about when life begins, and frankly, there is no debate about when it ends. Abortion is an intentional end to an organism, a ball of cells, a whatever, which could have become a human being. It is undeniable, and to consider destroying something that could become a human being – as real as myself – conflicts heavily with my ethics and my morals.

If my mother had thought of me as a ball of cells – something to be easily extinguished – I hate to think of the opportunities, the fun and the love that would have been lost to me as my “life,” or whatever one wants to call it, was exterminated.

Thank you, Mom.

Michelle Park is a senior newspaper journalism major and editor of the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].