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Voices Online Edition -- Vol. XXI No. 2
Pentecost 2006

Take My Hand, Not My Life

by Alleman High School Students

We are grateful for all the submissions to our Young Writers contest, and eagerly read them all. This time have done something a little different. A teacher at Alleman High School in Rock Island, Illinois, contacted us and asked if it would be appropriate to submit some of her freshmen students’ essays, which were written in class. Because of our space constraints, we decided excerpt some of the students’ essays for our Young Writers feature. We’ll let their teacher, Sister M. Anastasia, FSGM, explain the assignment.

After looking at the previous winners on your web site, I realize that these [essays] are not quite up to the weight of other entries in the Young Writers Award Contest, but I believe they have merit because of the topic and the circumstances under which they were written.

The assignment was a spontaneous, unannounced class assignment by freshmen students, who came in unaware of the assignment and had only the one class period to write. The students received the outline below to work from:

“Take My Hand, Not My Life”

Write a 2-page essay on the topic of “pro-life”, including the following questions:
• What does pro-life mean to you?
• Does pro-life deal only with abortion? Why or why not?
• What commandment does pro-life deal with?
• What other things can you think/say/do to be pro-life?
• Name a saint that you think of as pro-life and tell why you think he/she is pro-life.

After the assignments were completed, I then selected 15 essays from the entire class of 128. All of them show strong pro-life sentiments on the part of typical high school freshmen. I hope you will enjoy them as I have.

— Sister M. Anastasia, FSGM

[Details about the Young Writers Award.]

What does pro-life mean to you?

When I think of pro-life, in my mind I see a little baby, wrapped up in soft blankets and looking wide-eyed at the world, but then I think of a fetus, which didn’t get a chance.... Pro-life also applies to the elderly and the infirm. It means providing a quality of life for the aged up until natural death. It means that life-sustaining procedures cannot be withheld from someone who is old or terminal....

I think pro-life also deals with the 7th commandment, you shall not steal. By having an abortion, or by murdering someone, or by “pulling the plug”, you are stealing a person’s life from them. That’s even worse than stealing money or material goods, because life is something that can never be given back.

— Amanda Bush

Pro-life means not only refusing to have an abortion, but to treat all life with respect and to help all life to grow and become better. I think you have to go further than simply not destroying human life. You need to look deeper into things and realize God wants all of us to do more than just get by. He wants us to do good things, not just refrain from doing bad.

Look past the commandments and look to the Beatitudes -- they have more of an explanation of what you should do, not what you shouldn’t do, and I think that they are just as important.

— Matt Nogovan

What does pro-life mean to me? It means I am here because my mom chose to have me and give me a chance to be someone great. I am one of three -- a triplet -- born two months early, and when I listen to my mom’s stories about her pregnancy with me and my two brothers, I know she did all and everything she could to bring us into this world healthy. She even told me about how her doctor asked her if she wanted a selective abortion, the type where they go in and get rid of some of the babies so the others or one might survive.

My mom left that day, changed doctors, and couldn’t believe he would ask her such a question. She was a healthy, surprised, but happy mom of three, about to be six. There was no reason to warrant such a remark. She knew he was not the doctor for her. She changed doctors to one that was a specialist in multiple pregnancies, and because of that also shared in her joy that she was bringing three babies into this world. This was a blessing. She told us about this after we were older, to make us realize how awful it would be without Mark, or without Matt, had she chosen to do that. It might have been me, in fact. God blessed our family with six children, and I hear my mom and dad talk about how lucky they are, how blessed, all the time. So I feel strongly about abortion, about pro-life, because it was closer to me than I ever realized.

— Mitch Van Natta

Abortion takes the chance away to have another great person in life. Who knows, the kid you are killing could be the next Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr., or make his/her own achievement in the world. You’re cheating the world of a hero every time you abort a child. Imagine if even one of the firefighters in 9/11 was aborted before they were born. We could have never saved as many people in those weeks after the attacks.

— Joseph Vander Vennet

Pro-life doesn’t just deal with abortion, it deals with the killing of people. Also, when people bully or do things to someone that’s hurting them, they could actually be killing those people on the inside. They bully’s making fun of another kid whose self-esteem is low could actually push that kid over the edge.

— Hannah Schrader

Everybody has a different take on what certain words mean to them. To me, “pro-life” means not taking someone’s life when they can still live and are still living. Like if somebody is on life support, then they are still living, so they should keep living. I don’t think “pro-life” deals only with abortion. “Pro” means to be for something. So, just looking at the word, I think “for life”.

It isn’t specified if it’s a baby’s life or an older person’s life; it is any life. God put everybody on this earth for a purpose. So I think that everyone should be the chance to see what that purpose is....

There are many people that have made a difference in the world or are trying to make a difference. To me, all those people are saints. The name that jumps out to me is somebody who isn’t a saint yet. Her name is Janet, and she is the president of Quad City Greyhound Adoption, a nurse, and a mother. She works, takes care of her house, family, her own greyhounds, and on top of all that she runs the adoption center. Janet is by far one of the best people I have ever had the chance to meet. To me, she is already a saint!

— Jessica Sheckel

Pro-life means that you are for life and that you do not support abortion or any other types of physical killing. But, to me, it also means that you should not kill a person mentally and take away from their quality of life. You are killing a person mentally when you make fun of them and say bad things about them.

Even though sometimes you don’t think you are hurting someone when you make fun of them, you still are, even though you can’t physically see it. You should always be kind and respectful to everyone.

Someone that I believe is a saint of pro-life is my mother, because she wrote a book about being pro-life. She gathered stories from different people and their experiences ab out having an abortion and how this is very wrong.

— David Naert

Pro-life, to me, means to want to live and fulfill when God wants you to die, instead of taking a life in a way that God didn’t plan. This could be abortions, murder, or “putting someone out of their misery” by giving them a shot so they die sooner than they were expected to. Pro-life to me also means living to the fullest possible.

— Eric Mutka

Pro-life deals with more than abortion. It deals with euthanasia or “mercy killing”. When someone is on life support and can’t live without help, someone who is anti-life would say, “she is suffering and she can’t live on her own”.

Well, that is wrong! In the Terri Schiavo case, I personally think it was murder! They starved her and wouldn’t even give her water. I just can’t imagine how someone could do something like that to her. It’s amazing how so many people can even agree with Terri Schiavo’s death.

Recently, my mom and I watched two pretty intense movies on abortion. Because of these movies, I know and am 100% certain that a “tissue” inside the mother’s womb is a human baby. Since when does “tissue” kick, cry or shake? Never. Something I can do is encourage those who are going to go get an abortion to go and get a sonogram because I believe if you just see how developed these humans are at 11 weeks or less, it would at least change your mind!

— Jacob Mueting

Pro-life to me means that you are against any kind of killing anywhere. The reasons abortion and euthanasia are so high on the list of wrong-doings is because of lawmakers considering legalizing them. This would make it okay to murder someone, by law. For doctors, moral opinion is the only thing that matters because it’s now perfectly legal.

All these doctors need the moral courage to say no. So, to me, pro-life means moral courage. Pro-life means standing up for all life, and respecting it.

— Adam Dell

Pro-life stands not just against abortion, but also against murder, suicide, drinking and drugs. Since pro-life means for life, killing someone -- including yourself -- would definitely go against that. Drinking, drugs and not taking care of yourself will slowly decrease your life span and eventually will kill you.

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a good example of a pro-life saint, because she conceived a baby at a very young age when she didn’t have a husband. It would have been very easy for her to just say “no” to bearing the child. I’m sure people in the area where she lived looked on it as a sin.

“Take my hand, not my life” is saying that everyone deserves a chance to live, and you should take someone’s hand and help them live, or make a smart decision, rather than killing a human being before you are pregnant, and not afterwards. If people would join together, we could make a difference.

— Erica Ford

Pro-life deals with the fifth commandment, “thou shall not kill”. By practicing abortion, euthanasia, or the death penalty, people are committing murder and a mortal sin. Some people, however, don’t look at it this way, claiming that the babies aren’t real yet or that they are doing the dying person a favor, but not matter what, it is still wrong and it is still murder.

Also, by accepting abortion, euthanasia and the death penalty, one corrupt person could begin to believe in greater evils and other issues that involve life.

— Tim Hird

I saw a billboard that influenced me and I memorized it because it really reached out to my heart. The billboard said, “God gave us Ten Commandments, not ten suggestions”. To me it means that under God’s laws, we cannot choose our own convenience, we must abide by God’s commandments.

People who are considering abortion need to truly think about the effects that may emerge from a choice this big. For instance — guilt, mental trauma and possible regrets for life, not to mention the category of sin that is being committed.

There are better choices that people should pursue. Adoption is an alternative that gives a child the opportunity to fulfill God’s intention through the many couples that desperately wish to raise a child.

— Lauren Mentado

Pro-life means realizing that every person in this world is born for a purpose, and is individually important to God. I don’t understand how people can not be pro-life. It is God’s decision that the child has life; it isn’t for the mother to decide whether the child lives or dies.

No matter what the circumstances are, it is never and never will be all right to abort an unborn baby, because it has a purpose, and is important.

—Mary Ludin

People that are killing their babies before they come out really need to think twice about what they are doing to the babies whose lives they are taking. Young people having babies can make it through life. My mom and dad made it through life just fine, and they had my sister at sixteen, me at eighteen. You can make it if you try hard. Don’t get an abortion just because you’re scared of what people will say or just scared that you won’t make it.

I think my mom and dad are pro-life saints because they had my sister and me at such a young age. My mom did not get an abortion. They kept us and never even thought of getting an abortion.

— Kayla Appleman

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