November 14, 2012

Letter: Abortion questions

— Reading the Democratic Party’s platform has left me with a troubling question. The platform confirms the party’s stance that every woman has a right to abortion, or her “right to choose” without interference, except that Obamacare may pay for it. The question that is not addressed is “When does the fetus become a child?”

If a woman chooses a late-term abortion, at what point does that not become murder? Babies have survived and thrived when delivered at only 24 weeks. Then why is abortion after that period not considered murder? If someone kills a pregnant woman and her fetus dies as a result, that is looked upon legally as two murders. Where do you differentiate?

“Pro-choice” proponents always offer the same arguments. An unwanted child is liable to be neglected or abused. The mother feels she can’t afford this child. Women claim they have the right to control what happens to their bodies. A baby conceived as a result of rape or incest should be aborted. A fetus with deformities should not be allowed to be born.

Studies have shown that as many as 90 percent of abused and neglected children were not unwanted when they were born. If these children can’t be killed now because the mother abuses or neglects them, why it is legal before they were born? A woman has an absolute right to control what happens to her body, but a fetus represents a new body. We don’t kill individuals who become deformed for myriad reasons, so why is it legal before birth?

Rape and incest present an especially difficult set of circumstances. Those acts are criminal and should receive harsh legal penalties, but how is condemning an innocent baby to death for the crimes of others a just outcome for the baby? Only the victimized woman can make that call.

Our founders declared a basic principle in the Declaration of Independence — that we have an “unalienable right” to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Without that guarantee of life there is no liberty or pursuit of happiness.

I recognize that if some abortions are made illegal, women who want to end an unwanted or inconvenient pregnancy will find some way to end it. The only way forward seems to be in educating women that the child conceived should have a chance to live, if not with her at least with adoptive parents.

Ina Fay Manly