Clarifying abortion issue

PAUL DOORIS

Montoursville

The essential question that civil societies are called to answer–“at what point (and why) in the developmental process does a person gain legal protection?”

Enacting legislation requires people to compromise in order to pass the best laws possible. However, the role of the courts is to pronounce principled (uncompromising) rulings to protect people’s constitutional rights–in the case of abortion, the woman’s right to privacy and the child’s right to life.

Roe vs. Wade acknowledged the woman’s right to privacy (with incrementally greater protections during the earlier trimesters), but we are still awaiting the courts principled ruling as to when human life gains legal protection. In the 3rd trimester?

Why? Because three divides evenly into nine? What kind of principled reason is that? Should we protect the child before or after the umbilical cord is cut (“Ah shucks, we were hoping for blue eyes”)? When the child learns to speak (“No, don’t kill me.”)? When the child develops the ability to reason (“Mommy, I think, therefore I am”)?

As to the question of when a human life deserves to be legally protected, there is only one correct principled answer backed by reason–that is, from the moment of conception.

Why? Because the sperm contains only the DNA of the man. The (unfertilized) egg contains only the DNA of the woman. But a fertilized egg contains DNA from both the man and the woman, and therefore belongs to neither the man nor the woman.

This fertilized egg possesses the genetic material of a unique human person deserving of all of society’s legal rights to life.

“Morality is horribly complex for a person without principles.” — G.K. Chesterton

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