When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do on the 4th of July was to read aloud the Declaration of Independence. I proclaimed with conviction the words, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
At the time, I had no clue that the basic right to life had been revoked by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. I do not remember hearing the word abortion; it was certainly not talked about in my classes.
Fast-forward to college, and I’m sitting across the desk from one of my journalism professors, who was attempting to defend his view on abortion, which he labeled “pro-choice.” I countered by drawing a picture of a baby inside a mother’s womb. I thought that the portrait of a life inside a life would win the argument.
Unfortunately, after working for a news organization that counted abortionists among its financial supporters, I crossed over to the other side. I mistakenly viewed abortion as a freedom that a woman should zealously safeguard.
But I was fuzzy on the facts. I did not know, for instance, that a heartbeat could be detected 24 days after conception, or that brain waves could be monitored 43 days after the unification of egg and sperm.
And I did not know that, by exercising this so-called freedom, a woman could become trapped—imprisoned by guilt, emotional anguish, physical distress. I did not see all the hazards of abortion—the possibility of sterility, a perforated uterus, subsequent drug and alcohol abuse.
I certainly did not realize that in as many as 60 percent of cases, pregnant women were being coerced to abort by misguided boyfriends, husbands, and parents. Instead of exercising their freedom, such women were being psychologically abused. Roe was a chain that bound them in misery. It would also sever their ties with future generations.
When I learned the truth, I reverted to my previous pro-life position. I saw that true freedom could only come by respecting God-given rights—the foremost of which was the right to life.
This Independence Day, I re-read the Declaration of Independence with new fervor. The patriot within me wants what the Founding Fathers desired—a nation where life is honored, and where the rights of the individual—especially the most vulnerable among us—are respected. My prayer this 4th of July is that 2012 will bring with it an election in which life will triumph, and that progress will be made toward enabling all pregnant women to be truly free…free of the bondage of coercion, free of the shackles of Roe.
LifeNews.com Note: Maria Vitale is an opinion columnist for LifeNews.com. She is the Public Relations Director for the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation and Vitale has written and reported for various broadcast and print media outlets, including National Public Radio, CBS Radio, and AP Radio.