Honorable mention – High school essay contest: Eliane Odefey

Life before birth

By Eliane Odefey 

“Our creator endowed us with the right to life and yet millions of children lose their right to life every year because of abortion. In Texas, we work to save those lives. That’s exactly what the Texas Legislature did this session.”

These words, spoken by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, sent sparks of anger through me. Moments later, Abbott went on to sign S.B. 8, widely known as the heartbeat bill, into law and banned almost all abortions later than six weeks after conception. Science shows that, at six weeks, the embryo is only as big of a grain of rice and barely recognizable as a growing lifeform. In fact, it does not yet have organ systems or possess any type of consciousness, disqualifying it from being considered a complex organism or being of personhood.

It is not until 10 weeks into pregnancy that the embryo is considered a fetus, and even then, much more growth must occur before it can be argued that the fetus holds rank as an individual. Unfortunately, many religious people continue to push the idea that personhood begins at conception. Their persistence and roles in the lawmaking process have created laws, such as S.B. 8 in Texas, that stem from religious principles, locking all residents into following a strict set of rules they have no belief or faith in.

It is times like these, when the safety and freedom of all are compromised to cater to the beliefs of the few, that I question the priorities of our country. In what world can science be so easily overlooked and discounted?

Religion should hold no place in a court or legislature, or on the desk of a political officer. Instead, we must rely on science, the only thing that governs us all equally, to make such important decisions. Science is the only lens that treats every issue without bias and holds favors for no one. As we move forward, we must strive to view all matters from a scientific perspective and push back against those who seek to use religion as a form of control.

Eliane, 18, of Waterbury, Vt., attends Middlebury College.

“I plan to be an architectural studies major with a minor in Spanish,” Eliane writes. “I enjoy outdoor sports such as skiing and paddle boarding and also volunteer with local resettled people.”