When I was younger, I identified strongly as pro-life. I saw abortion as a pressing matter of public interest and human rights. Today, while I still identify as pro-life, I see abortion as more than just about the rights of the fetus. When I say that I am pro-life, I mean that I believe that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness should be extended to all humans. Without the right to life, all other rights are impossible. Perhaps most important is the realization that with life comes love.

I believe that love wants what is best for others. I believe that a woman is worth more than abortion. When a woman has an abortion, she may harm herself emotionally and physically. And every time a woman is coerced into having an abortion, women’s rights takes a step back. Abortion can be exploitative — taking advantage of a woman regardless of whether or not she thinks she has benefitted. Abortion deceives women into thinking life will go on as usual following an abortion. Abortion misleads women as to what is forming inside their womb.

I believe that love seeks truth. I believe that the unborn are human, from the moment of fertilization. As a nursing student, I know that science suggests no less. As a person of faith, I know that God intricately formed me in my mother’s womb.

I believe that love supports autonomy. Every time an abortion takes place, the human within the womb is stripped of his autonomy. When a woman aborts because of coercion, lack of informed consent or the knowledge that she cannot succeed in life if she chooses to parent her child, not only is her autonomy reduced, but also sexism claims a victory.

I believe that love cherishes and accepts. The label of “unwanted” reflects not on the recipient of the label, but on the giver. Children, disabled persons or older adults considered unwanted are not so because of anything they have done. Instead, the label is indicative of the society that dismisses and rejects them. “Every child a wanted child” suggests that fewer unwanted children decrease child abuse cases. But the problem is that abortion — as the suggested solution to unwanted children — kills them, instead of “wanting” them.

I believe that love begets love. Adoption can be a beautiful picture of loving beyond bloodlines, race and culture. Instead of allowing a child to grow up family-less, adoption receives and calls a child “wanted.”

I believe that love values people. The physically and developmentally challenged are to be protected because value is determined not by what a person can potentially “contribute” to society, but by who they are.

I believe that love lasts.The old are not too old for us to provide them with optimal medical care. I believe that a society that marginalizes the weakest is forgetting the meaning of respect and is forging a path of destruction for itself.

I believe that love is selfless. In our society, the meaning of love is often distorted; one might use the word when talking about a gyro or a hero, or anything in between. True love, the sort of love that gives instead of takes, is selfless. Love that regards others better than self looks out for the best of others. This is seen in the mother who gives up her child for adoption because she wants the best for her child. This is seen in the husband who lovingly cares for his spouse while she is on a ventilator. This is seen in a family that adopts a child with developmental disabilities so that the child can know the meaning of family.

I believe that love pursues and upholds justice. One of the greatest injustices is that of the consistent minimizing of the smaller and weaker. Working to reduce abortion and infanticide and speaking against euthanasia is seeking to promote justice for those who cannot speak up for themselves.

I believe that love builds up. Whenever we encourage someone who is struggling, we show love. Whenever we reach out to help another life, we show love. And when we love, we are being pro-life.

HANNAH F. VICTOR is a Nursing junior from Cheltenham, Pa. Her email address is vhannah@nursing.upenn.edu.

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