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There Was a Date Set for My Death

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Editor’s Note: Over the course of the next week and beyond, NRL News Today will be publishing all six of the winning essays from the 2024 NRLC Essay Contest. Yesterday, we published the winning essay from the Senior Division, grades 10-12. The second and third place finishers will be published today. The second-place finisher is Selah. The three Junior Division winners, who were in grades 7-9, will be reposted next week.

A date was once set for my demise. My mother was approximately two years my senior when the two pink lines first appeared and she learned of my existence. On the surface, her life appeared to be a resounding success. She had established a successful career as a professional model since the age of thirteen, her academic performance was exemplary, and she was on the cusp of enrolling in a highly selective college, having been awarded numerous scholarships. She had achieved all the goals that our society deems necessary for a newly-fledged adult. However, she was not content. She was experiencing depressive symptoms, self-destructive behaviours and suicidal ideation. She scheduled a termination appointment at the same Planned Parenthood facility where my older sibling had been aborted the previous year.

In examining the tapestry of our society, it becomes evident that an emphasis on external outcomes, goals, and achievements is a pervasive and influential factor in determining the worth of an individual. This mindset is reflected in the narratives of those who have achieved success. The notion that high productivity and far-reaching impact are the defining characteristics of an individual’s value is perpetuated through social media. We laud the child actors and young influencers. Those who achieve the most and the quickest. It is evident that talent is a commendable quality, deserving of high praise. However, I frequently experience a profound sense of distress. When I fail to achieve the desired outcome, there is a tendency to focus on what could have been done differently rather than on the learning opportunities that arise from the experience. A voice whispers that I am useless, worthless, and a failure. There is a pervasive tendency to associate one’s identity and self-worth with one’s ability to achieve. This discomfort is exacerbated when I compare my shortcomings to the successes of others. This phenomenon is pervasive in our society. I observe this phenomenon in the voices of my friends when they do not receive a callback, fail to make varsity, or achieve the desired grade on the SAT. The issue is that we have permitted ourselves to be conditioned to perceive our value in terms of outcomes.

I am pro-life because, as a society, we are in urgent need of a reminder that life matters, not because of what is achieved, but purely because it is life. Our worth is not contingent upon our accomplishments. The intrinsic value of human life is evident from the earliest stages of development, including the embryo, and continues until the moment of death. In the womb, the young, the inexperienced, the disadvantaged, the differently abled, the terminally ill, and the elderly. All life is of equal value.

A date had been set for my demise. However, given that I am able to type these words to you, it is reasonable to conclude that the appointment was not kept. It is unlikely that my mother ever visited a Planned Parenthood facility. In light of my continued existence, I pose the following questions to the reader: What would be the consequences of adhering to the belief that our intrinsic worth is unchangeable, regardless of life circumstances or achievements? One might inquire as to the implications of a belief in the intrinsic value of life.


Daniel Miller is responsible for nearly all of National Right to Life News' political writing.

With the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Daniel Miller developed a deep obsession with U.S. politics that has never let go of the political scientist. Whether it's the election of Joe Biden, the midterm elections in Congress, the abortion rights debate in the Supreme Court or the mudslinging in the primaries - Daniel Miller is happy to stay up late for you.

Daniel was born and raised in New York. After living in China, working for a news agency and another stint at a major news network, he now lives in Arizona with his two daughters.

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