In college, my suite-mate was of African-American descent, and of strict Christian-Baptist religious circumstances. The extent of our relationship was a few good-mornings because we shared a bathroom sink. She came into my room one day and closed the door. The conversation began by her telling me that she was the only person in her family that hadn’t had a baby before the age of eighteen, the only one not married yet and obviously the only one to go to college. She said she was the jewel of parents who didn’t have much to be proud of, and that she felt tremendous pressure from them to succeed. She followed this introduction of her upbringing by telling me she was pregnant with a baby from her ex-boyfriend. She had an appointment set up at the abortion clinic, and needed me to pick her up because even though it was an outpatient procedure, she would be drugged up.
I grew up being taught that abortion was wrong because the human life inside the mother does not belong to her. In principle, this sounds very easy to follow. As I came to learn, however, the classroom rarely prepares you for real life.
So there I was, trying to decide what was the right thing to do: help a soul in pain fix her mistake and continue towards a bright future, or follow what I was taught and give her a speech on saving the baby’s life because it’s a human being, leading her to most probably drop out of college and move back home with the baby’s father, only to continue the vicious circle that lower-end families try so hard to break out of?
When it was all done, I had to carry her back to the car. Then carefully carry her up the stairs and lay her shivering and clearly in pain body on her bed. Her thank you was so sincere it gave me chills down my spine.
They say an unquestioned faith is not real. They say one must go through darkness to figure out if you believe because you were told so, or because you actually do. I do not regret my actions that day, but they did help shape my moral beliefs. I believe in the sanctity of life. I believe that life is the most amazing gift we are given, and whether religious or not, most of us agree that we have one life on earth. Life does not answer to nice cars, expensive purses or zeros in bank accounts. It is included in the very exclusive list of untouchable characteristics we have as human beings. Even though it is often taken for granted, the fact that we wake up in the morning and fill our lungs with air should be reason enough to feel power inside us to go out and do something extraordinary. I believe in life, and the fire that it sets in all of us to be great.
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