True Equality Means Protecting Life for Every Human Being | Opinion

Every March our nation celebrates Women's History Month to honor those who fought for our equal rights. It's inspiring to think about the brave women who came before us, who struggled to show their worth and inalienable rights as equal to men. Thanks to their example, we are empowered to keep fighting for equal rights today. One of us founded and leads a nationwide nonprofit organization, and the other is the youngest woman currently serving in the Ohio legislature. Together, we celebrate our femininity this month by leaning into our most natural instinct—protecting our children.

An alarming 2,363 children are killed every day in America via abortion, making it our nation's leading cause of death. We must put an end to this atrocity. These are our children, and we must continue to fight for their lives by protecting their equal rights under the law. This is why we are working together on the 2363 Act—to offer total and complete protection for the most vulnerable in our communities.

Some argue that no one dies in an abortion. They say the fetus or embryo is merely a "potential life." Yet the science is clear: at the moment of fertilization, a wholly new and genetically distinct human being is created. Since Roe v. Wade was decided almost 50 years ago by seven men, our society's technological prowess and scientific knowledge have progressed dramatically. These scientific advances illustrate what many have always known to be true: every abortion ends the life of an innocent human being.

Dr. Keith Moore wrote in the 2015 edition of his medical textbook The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology that "Human development begins at fertilization when a sperm fuses with an oocyte to form a single cell, the zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell (capable of giving rise to any cell type) marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual." Dozens of anatomy and embryology textbooks used by medical students every day echo that fact.

March for Life abortion protest
Pro-life activists march during the 49th annual March for Life, on January 21, 2022, in Washington, DC. MANDEL NGAN / AFP/Getty Images

We could quote at length scholarly and scientific sources on the biological reality that human life begins at fertilization, but the argument regarding life in our country is not really about science. It's about the equal rights we owe to the youngest and most vulnerable members of our human family. The fact that each day 2,363 children—the equivalent of 139 preschool classes—are senselessly and intentionally killed must make us pause and then act. It is a death toll we simply cannot tolerate.

As women with a maternal instinct to protect, we feel a sense of urgency to aggressively push for laws that protect human life. And we know what works—restrictions on abortion save lives. In the past few months, abortions in Texas fell by half after the Texas Heartbeat Act—which protects preborn children once their heartbeats are detected—was enacted. Complete legislative protection will be a vital step towards an America that realizes her promise of protecting life, liberty and justice for all citizens.

Making abortion unlawful is a necessary step, but it doesn't end there. We must offer holistic care and assistance for every mother, father and child by supporting the American family through law and material aid. Today, there are more than 2,500 pregnancy resource centers providing millions of dollars' worth of physical and emotional care to families across the country. Women supporting each other, especially through the challenges and triumphs of motherhood, is the true realization of the women's rights movement.

As we anticipate the verdict this summer in the Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson, which legal analysts on both the Left and Right believe will overturn Roe v. Wade, we have no time to lose. Thousands of lives are lost every day, so we must act now, regardless of the Court's decision. History has shown us the dark consequences of laws that deny the human rights of the vulnerable, but it also shows us the powerful change that can happen when loud voices demand to be heard. This Women's History Month, we call on all American women to speak up and fight against this injustice. We must courageously protect the life of every preborn child, which means abolishing abortion and making the destruction of children in the womb unthinkable. It's time to reclaim a holistic vision of equality in our nation.

Jena Powell represents the 80th district in the Ohio House of Representatives. Lila Rose is the founder and president of Live Action, a leading nonprofit human rights organization reaching millions of people each day with education on abortion and human dignity.

The views expressed in this article are the writers' own.