Potential

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Let’s posit a parent, who has a daughter who wants to go to college. For the purposes of this argument, there is only one college in the world, and only one chance to apply there. The daughter fills out her paperwork, writes an essay and a check for the application fee, and submits the package to the college.

The parent decides he doesn’t want her to attend college. Maybe he doesn’t have the money to pay for it, or doesn’t want her to leave home, or suspects they might teach her falsehoods. So he sneaks into the Admissions department there, finds her application, and burns it. The college therefore never follows up, and the daughter never knows how her application was lost. By then it’s too late: enrollment has ended. She will never have a higher education.

What has this parent done? Has he ended her college education? No, he cannot be accused of doing so, because that education never began. What he has done is kill all potential for her education.

Advocates of abortion rights are fond of saying that an embryo, or even a fetus, is not a life. They oppose attempts to pass legislation establishing such on grounds that it’s ridiculous, or unscientific, or illogical. So let us, for a moment, argue on those grounds: that an embryo or blastocyst is not a life, and that human life does not begin at conception. At some indeterminate point during gestation, the fetus becomes a baby, and only then, a viable human life.

If we had aborted that embryo before it was a baby, under the reasoning established above, we would not have ended a human life, because that life never began. We would only have killed the *potential* for a human life.

Yet can anyone argue that in our example above of a young woman seeking a higher education, the parent has not killed all hope for her to achieve that education? The application had been submitted. The potential for her acceptance was real, and she at least had a chance to realize it. Yet the parent, by exercising his power and exerting a form of control over her life (be it appropriate or not), has cut off her education altogether. The fact that it never began would make little difference to the daughter; all she knows is her dream is gone.

And what of the parent? Is he not in a way enslaving his daughter by his actions? His actions have consequences, and were the daughter to learn the truth, she would no doubt feel abused, disregarded, and powerless. She has no recourse that will restore her chance at the life she wants.

Even if we establish that life does not begin at conception, this helps the pro-abortion argument little. A human life cannot come about any other way except via that little embryo. There is no other institution to which it can apply. If we do not, in the strict sense, end the life when we cut off that avenue, then we surely end all potential for that life. All we know is, that child’s dream is gone.

The potential for higher education is held sacrosanct in this country: those who cannot afford college, or to whom it is otherwise denied, are considered victims of an injustice. We mourn when a terrorist act delays or kills the potential for peace between two nations. We mourn for a potential that will never be realized when those close to us pass away. Why then, do we not mourn the loss of the potential for life itself?

Thankfully, many do. Last week, nearly half a million people marched in Washington, DC to defend the right of unborn children to live. Many were youth who will be attending college soon. Make no mistake: The public loves these children, and is ready to fight for them. May this be a sign to our elected officials. The potential to end this travesty is alive in the hearts of the young.

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