Tuesday, September 2, 2014

YOLO: The Real Meaning of You Only Live Once

When I read stories about women who choose to abort their babies because the child is the "wrong" sex or because they learn of a birth defect, it breaks my heart.
 An estimated 92 percent of all women who receive a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome choose to terminate their pregnancies, according to research reviewed by Dr. Brian Skotko, a pediatric geneticist at Children's Hospital Boston.
I weep for the children who never had a chance to exist outside their mothers' wombs.

Stories about people choosing to end their lives early due to infirmity, unhappiness, hopelessness, or just being tired of living are inconceivable in my mind. And what are we to make of a first-world government that kills its aged citizens when costs get too great? Whether you call it "mercy killing" or euthanasia, it is a conscious choice to end what God has so graciously and freely given: the greatest gift of all.

We hear so much about ending life when someone is not satisfied with the perceived quality that the helpless or disabled human being will have or, more selfishly, the quality of life the person's life will afford to others. That is why stories like the one of a Brazilian man named Claudio shown in the video below are especially inspiring to me.

Here is a man born with such severe abnormalities (congenital malformation) that his very existence is mind-boggling. It makes me wonder why some people value human life so much more than others do.

The will to live is naturally strong. It makes sense that the desire for OTHERS to have the chance to live should be equally as strong. There is a glimmer of hope that the message of "survival of the fittest" is not as clear-cut as some people would have us believe.

I am also troubled by the decision by our government recently to redefine pregnancy terms, narrowing the definition of "full term" from 37 weeks to 39 weeks of gestation. What initially seems innocuous could also be the segway into allowing abortions at a much later time in the pregnancy. To say that a child can be aborted anytime before "full term: would now mean that fully viable babies (at 37 weeks) could be killed and discarded, even though they could live outside the womb without any medical assistance. It is not a stretch to think that this is a motivation behind the re-defining of pregnancy terms by our federal government.

My choice to vote for pro-life candidates--ones who value life from birth to a natural death--is not just a Catholic decision as much as it is a recognition that all human life is a precious gift. It is in recognition of the reality that once you renounce that gift--on your own behalf or on behalf of another--you cannot get it back. You only live once.