Life is yearning to breathe freely

December 15, 2013

To be or not to be.

Prince Hamlet of Denmark asked this question in the throes of desperation after his father was murdered.  His words imply a choice - if only a philosophical one.

An unborn baby has not yet developed the brain function necessary to ponder the question.  He or she, still in the womb, is busy growing.  In nature, emerging life doesn’t ask questions.  It just is (as in the verb: To be).  To terminate a life is a decision made by a sentient human who decides the life is not to be.

A lot of ink, talk and money flow for small children and animals who cannot speak for themselves.  For the centennial celebration of the American Declaration of Independence, the poet Emma Lazarus penned the words:  “Give me your tired, your poor; your huddled masses yearning to breathe free; the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Lazarus’ words, almost a prayer, were meant to welcome 60 percent of the world’s immigrants in the19th century from places of poverty, tyranny and death.  We welcomed endangered people from afar. We still do.  We save lives in peril around the world every day.

Perhaps we can lift our lamps once more by not siphoning life out of a woman’s womb.  An emerging human is innocent.  A forming life follows a wondrous design; it moves, feels, feeds and grows to get ready for the big event.  Who bestowed the right of civilized people to destroy the unborn child?  The act is enshrined as “a woman’s choice.”  But it is so much more than that.

Hamlet’s dilemma represents a tormented soul weighing life vs. death.  Later in his soliloquy he says: “Yet in that sleep of death what dreams may come….Must give us pause."

Let us pause to consider the life that is yearning to breathe free.

Annette Silva

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