Proudly Announcing the National Right to Life Pro-Life Essay Contest Winners

By Dave Andrusko

essay33One of National Right to Life’s many youth outreach programs is the NRLC Pro-Life Essay Contest.

It is our pleasure to publish in NRL News Today this year’s winner for grades 7-9— John Paul Lavallee of Maryland—and for grades 10-12—a tie between Vanessa Harris, Texas, and Samuel Alexander Jacques of South Carolina.

Each contestant who participated in the contest wrote an essay of 300 to 500 words. The essay was judged on its original thought, content, and accuracy.

In addition to $200 for first prize, $150 for second prize, and $100 for third prize, these fine essays appear not only here but also in the 2015 National Right to Life Yearbook .

Congratulations to John Paul, Samuel, and Samuel and to everyone else who took part in the National Right to Life Pro-Life Essay Contest.

A Priceless Gift

By Vanessa Harris

What is life: Is it a cosmic accident, or an incredible miracle? Think about it. From the very moment a baby is conceived, the body is at work. Shaping, crafting, building, it transforms a little egg into a living person. A person whose heart can beat and whose lungs can breathe. A person who can laugh; a person who can cry. A person who can grow up to change the world. Life is not an accident.

In the vast, blue ocean, a girl lay peacefully on her surfboard. To her, there was nothing like the taste of the salty sea, the sound of the roaring waves, the kiss of the warm sun. On that surfboard was a passionate 13-year-old girl, soon to be a professional surfer. But as her arm dangled in the water, calamity struck. Without any warning, a 14-foot shark robbed her of a surfer’s most important tool: an arm. But was this the end: No. This one-armed, teenage girl grew up to be Bethany Hamilton, a professional surfer who radiates hope to millions. Her life is not an accident.

An elderly man sat alone. His hand trembles as he struggled to bring a spoonful of soup to his mouth. Watching the heavyweight championship on television, he remembered his days as a celebrity boxer. He used to knock out lofty opponents. Now he couldn’t even knock food into his mouth. Gradually, Parkinson’s disease had stripped him of the talents for which he had once been exalted. No longer able to walk the walk or talk the talk, he became nothing more than an invalid. This shaky, wrinkly, elderly man was once the mighty Mohammad Ali. Now he is a model, a voice, and an inspiration to Parkinson’s victims everywhere. His life is not an accident.

In the womb of a mother, a little baby girl wiggled around. To her parents’ despair, her life on earth would not last long. According to an amniotic fluid test, the child showed signs of Tay Sachs disease, which would end her life within five years. However, a unique, irreplaceable human being was being woven together inside of that womb. Not thrown together, but woven, intricately and thoughtfully by the Creator of the world. Though the doctors doubted her survival, the Lord knew that baby would grow up to be me, a 15-year-old, healthy, living testimony of the value of life. I am not an accident, and neither is anyone else. Life is a priceless gift that deserves to be respected and protected, because it is given by the greatest Giver of all.

Hanging by a Thread

By Samuel Alexander Jacques

My best friend, Hudson, is a product of date rape. His mother was pregnant with him at fourteen years old, and because she was so young, she was strongly advised to abort her child. Though abortion seemed like the easiest way out of the situation, she chose to find other parents willing to adopt her baby at birth. Today, Hudson is 18 years old and brings brilliant life into the world around him. He plays many acoustic instruments, loves the outdoors, loves to crack dumb jokes, and loves people. The passion in his heart is contagious and his wild personality brings joy to the lives of many. I wish others could have seen the tears of joy when he was reunited with his biological mother just this year. My point is, the world would be a different place without him.

Not only would abortion have kept Hudson out of the world, but it would also have destroyed his biological mother. Abortion Recovery InterNational reports the suicide rate for women after an abortion becomes six to seven times higher, and over half of them attribute post-traumatic stress disorder to the same terrible event. These women are at a 65 percent higher risk on long term clinical depression, and five times more likely to use illicit drugs during subsequent pregnancies (“Recent Research”). Abortion is not simply an easy fix for an unwanted pregnancy … it comes at a heavy emotional and psychological price that causes even more destruction down the road.

The American society has turned abortion into a struggle for women’s rights when the real issue is that we are destroying the most precious gift our world has to offer: life. When all is said and done, parents are emotionally damaged, and a child is dead. Breath is stolen from a baby before he or she ever takes their first breath.

Written into our Declaration of Independence is the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This right belongs to all living Americans, born or unborn. No matter how ugly our situation in life may be, the answer cannot be “Just kill the baby,” because that child will never grow up to fulfill the unique role waiting for them in our world.

Even before they are born, each child is a person. They are precious. They cannot be replaced. Hudson’s life hung by a thread before he was born; such a strong man-to-be was so vulnerable while his mother decided his fate. Today his vibrant life is a living testimony to the destruction each abortion brings. The life in him is a call to fight for the lives of other vulnerable children, those whose lives hang by the same thread at this very moment. It’s a call to respect the one thing we value above all else: life.

Works cited: Abortion Research. Abortion Recovery InterNational. Abortion Recovery InterNational Inc.Web. 10 January 2015.

I Know My Voice is Needed

By John Paul Lavallee

I have many friends with autism, Down syndrome, and other disabilities. Some of them would have been aborted if their parents did not respect their lives. If this happened, there would be fewer people on the planet. Many people say this is good, because large populations are too hard on the earth’s resources, but I believe that the earth can sustain every person God creates. People with autism would not get a chance to write a book about their experience, or be a genius, or be a good friend if they were aborted.

Many people with Down syndrome, nine out of ten, are aborted every year because of a genetic test that can predict this condition before birth. This is sad and evil because these babies cannot defend themselves. All of us are being deprived of a chance to love and serve most children with Down syndrome and to receive the love and kindness they grow up to give. This is a big problem because we live in a rich, powerful, and smart society, but this society is not generous or welcoming to any kind of life that seems weak, but is actually just different. I do not think this is smart at all. In fact, this injustice makes me angry at the people who encourage it. It shows that some people think they know better than God who are the perfect people to create.

I worry that something like this persecution could happen to people with autism if a similar genetic test is developed to predict autism. As a 14-year-old boy with autism, I know from personal experience that there are many things I can do without help. I love the world, and especially people. I love learning about the world, and spending time with my friends at Our Lady of Lourdes School. At my school, I am accepted along with everybody else. Some of us have disabilities, and some do not. None of us pretends we are perfect. I am glad to have a voice to say what I think about respecting every life. I know my voice is needed just as much as the voices of all my friends.

I like learning about new discoveries that scientists are making about autism. I hope these discoveries will help me, and many other people, some day. But, if these discoveries are used to kill us before birth instead of helping us grow up to share our special gifts, then I will be very sad. I will wonder what is good about science after all. It is important to talk about this problem now because we want to help people with Down syndrome to be loved and given life, just as much as we want this for people with every disability and for people with no disabilities. To respect life means knowing that God creates life, and remembering that everyone God creates is very good. Respecting life is another way to love God. Who can live without that?