In Sunday's Argus Leader there was a Reader's Forum column on the Unborn Victims of Violence Act by Thelma Underberg, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice South Dakota in Sioux Falls. The column--no longer online--concluded with the following paragraph: "The UVVA would adopt one religious belief about the beginning of life – that the fetus at all stages of development is a person – and make it the law for all, regardless of individual beliefs."
Here's the letter I submitted to the editor in response:
- In her recent Reader’s Forum commentary Thelma Underberg wrote that the Unborn Victims of Violence Act “would adopt one religious belief about the beginning of life – that the fetus at all stages of development is a person – and make it the law for all, regardless of individual beliefs.” Ms. Underberg asserts that the view that the fetus at all stages of development is a human being is a religious belief—this is manifestly false. The science of embryology has long informed us that the being which comes to exist at the point of conception is a human being, i.e. a member of the species homo sapiens. This accords with common sense: the fetus surely isn’t a horse, a cat, a cow, or a member of any other species but our own. In other words, the view that the fetus is a human being is a scientific truth, not a religious view. (One might also point to pro-life atheists like Libertarians for Life founder Doris Gordon as evidence against Ms. Underberg’s assertion.) And in our justice system the law is (supposed to) protect every human being from harm done by others. The UVVA simply continues that principle.