Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Personally opposed, but

Last Saturday, I found this commentary at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The writer supports gubernatorial candidate Tim Penny's stance on abortion, which is this: abortion is a "national tragedy", but he also believes that "government intrusion will not solve the fundamental problem" (see Penny's own views).

The following is a letter to the editor which I recently submitted to the Star Trib:

Dear Editor,

A recent commentary (Rachel Skulstad: Penny's changed for the better; Oct. 26) illustrates well a common misunderstanding of the pro-life perspective. Both Ms. Skulstad and Tim Penny are "personally opposed, but" when it comes to abortion, Mr. Penny even seeing abortion as a "national tragedy". My own question is this: why is Ms. Skulstad "morally against abortion"? Why does Mr. Penny view abortion as a national tragedy?

The pro-life position is very simple: biologically, every fetus is an individual member of the species homo sapiens; every individual member of the species homo sapiens is a subject of human rights; therefore, every fetus is a subject of human rights and hence ought not be killed. That is the pro-life argument, and there is no other reason to oppose abortion. If the fetus is not a human being and hence the subject of human rights, there is no reason to morally oppose abortion, no reason to call it "a national tragedy".

But because the fetus is a human being, and hence deserving of the same protection under the law which human beings at other stages of development are, abortions must be stopped. Will abortions never occur if the procedure is outlawed? Of course not; but laws against theft do not stop robberies from happening, either. Do pro-lifers want the government telling us what to do with our bodies? Yes, if what we are doing with our bodies is killing of another human being.

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